Monday, August 23, 2010

Table manners

Stepping into a museum with a camera is always a what’s- it-going-to-be-this-time experience. In the US and Europe most, well almost all, art institutions allow photography without flash in everything but the temporary exhibitions where works are on loan. But you really never know what the rules will be until you get in there. At the Art Gallery of New South Wales we came across another variant, do not photograph the Aboriginal funeral posts (all the other works in the Gallery were ok to snap). This seemed fair enough given their function and significance, but then we saw how the Gallery treated them. It had carelessly arranged a conference luncheon right in front of them and left the tables and barriers sitting there so to even look at these objects (whose importance was highlighted by inclusion in the Gallery collection audio guide) you had to push your way through the clutter. And that’ forgetting the whatever-attitude of visitors feeding their faces directly alongside them.
Image: Tuck-in-time at the AGNSW, The images of Tutini (Pukumani Grave Posts) by Pedro Wonaemirri have been blanked out.