Thursday, January 17, 2013

On guard

Over the years we've bombarded you with pics of stanchions, barriers and pine cones (true) being used to protect art works, sometimes ruining them, sometimes adding a hilarious new dimension. Art museums have another weapon to keep us away from their art: guards. We’ve already had a look at their reading choices and the move from books to phones, but how about the aesthetics of minding. 
Here’s one photo taken by us at the Shanghai Biennale of a guard completely unaware that the video he is protecting has long since stopped playing along with two images from Andy Freeburg’s book Guardians ofthe Russian Museums. This wonderful collection of photographs suggests that guards become like the pictures they attend, something like people and their dogs. It was Freeburg who made our favourite art people photographs, the top of dealer gallery staffers' heads poking up above hefty reception counters. As for our favourite guard response to someone actually trying to touch something? Still got to be from the movie Night at the museum: battle of the Smithsonian, “How dare you! If you touch that again I shall kill you right now.”
Images: Top, Shanghai Biennale guard. Bottom, woman guarding art in Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery photographed by Andy Freeburg.