Insights

Head or Heart in Museum Leadership?

from The Art Newspaper
July 2005
By Maxwell Anderson

通常是艺术家把社会良知带进博物馆,尽管是钉在墙上的那种. Harried directors, on the other hand, who spend their time riding the rapids fed by funding problems, gregarious patrons, prickly professionals, and probing reporters, usually have to make time to think about anything beyond survival. 这就解释了为什么大英博物馆最近的举动不仅仅是为了解释或商业目的, but a moral one, has taken centre stage in the art world.

As students during the 1960s, det365首页中的许多人要求大学放弃从战争或种族隔离中获利的公司的股票. Today members of that same generation hold the reins at leading organisations, but have largely followed the oft-repeated dictum of Francois Guisot (1787-1874) "Not to be a republican at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head".

While many lacked then (and still do now), 这颗心——一种通过道德指南针来制定政策的冲动——让少数人脱颖而出. Neil MacGregor's recent global-minded initiatives at the British Museum, including sending a keeper to war-torn Baghdad, and developing peer-to-peer programmes with museums in Africa and Asia, are best understood as. 这是一种更大的代际冲动的一部分,即把领导层与超越体制的问题bat365官网登录起来.

The origins of such conscience-led behaviour are varied, and ultimately less significant than the results of such behaviour. The UK's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), like the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the US, 在过去的几年里,是否试图追踪社会工程方面的组织成就, looking for the "instrumental" effects of museum programmes and activities, rather than assessing the "intrinsic" value of collecting, preserving, and interpreting museum objects. 在这个臭名昭著的难以衡量的部门,对工具活动进行分级的政策很容易从里根时期任命的艺术官员过渡到现任政府的官员, and will doubtless survive the end of the Blair government as well. Mr. 麦格雷戈为大英博物馆作为一个工具性组织寻找新出路的bat365官网登录,既务实(这是对日益高涨的“归还”珍宝的呼声的回应),又有原则.

One director can reshape the course of all museums. 托马斯•霍文(Thomas Hoving,前大都会博物馆馆长)将博物馆从专注于研究的机构迅速发展为商业旅游景点, leading inexorably to the current Tut extravaganza, a co-option of museum authority by the powerful axis of AEG Exhibitions, and Arts and Exhibitions International, and National Geographic.

Mr. MacGregor's predecessor, Robert Anderson, 很早就被大英博物馆的非道德的收购政策所困扰吗, 这也引发了一场重要的辩论,即博物馆在监管未来的藏品时需要多谨慎. Mr. MacGregor's stance is bold because, somewhat hubristically, it bucks the commercialising trend of the US, 相反,在做出有关收购和贷款的决定时,选择使用道德指南针. 这一新方向的正式证据来自于2004年3月26日通过的新博物馆收集文物的指导方针, “只要有可能,受托人只会购买那些有文件证明它们在1970年之前从原产国出口的物品, and this policy will apply to all objects of major importance."

大英博物馆的政策是值得注意的,因为在那之前,博物馆一直辩称,由于缺乏证明非法出口的证据,为购买提供了充分的保护. 他的受托人现在要求博物馆只购买有文件证明的出口产品. 其他西方国家的同行机构对这种毫不含糊的姿态感到震惊, and are coping with its aftershocks over a year later.

如何解释大英博物馆向道德管理的转变,而不仅仅是领导层的代际变化? 这种分化的部分原因是否可以归结为欧洲博物馆在帝国灭亡后仍能幸存下来, 并试图以科学的严谨态度来保护他们的战利品——包括埃尔金大理石雕塑? While the United States is only now warming up its imperial ambitions, 并保留对缺乏保护历史措施的艺术丰富的来源国宣称道德优势的权利?

This would be a simplistic formulation. Neil MacGregor's efforts are well timed, 面对越来越大的公众压力,他们不得不将这些古老的珍宝“归还”给建立在早已消失的文明之上的现代民族国家. But however exploratory and expedient MacGregor's initiatives may feel, they bear the mark of principle. Most North American museum directors operate in an individualistic, grow-ordie gladiatorial arena, 因此,拥挤的票房和偶尔获得的杰作是成就的标志. On the other hand, 欧洲后帝国时代的混乱,可以从民众对欧盟宪法(EU Constitution)及其令人不安的大帐篷的拒绝中看出. 目前,地方性或全国性的担忧似乎战胜了国际妥协. But in the cultural sphere, at least, 麦格雷戈政府为实现一个有价值的目标,用单一机构或单一国家的关注点来交易超国家的关注点提供了希望.

There are bumps ahead on the trail, mostly involving restitution claims. 支持保留早期收购的同时采取道德方针的立场,一直面临着压力, most recently because of the Italian return of the Axum obelisk to Ethiopia. Egypt is now calling for the return of the Rosetta Stone. 一个合理的立场是,对近期可疑收购的法律名称进行尽职调查,无论是追溯既往,还是展望未来,都至关重要, 对于长期持有的文物和纪念物的高度选择性的归还,应该仔细考虑, but that reflexive capitulation to nationalistic demands would lead to anarchy. 对于百科全书式博物馆的领导们来说,何时接受和拒绝这些要求是最微妙的挑战. 大英博物馆还没有明确地提出一个协调一致的方法来处理追偿要求,这个方法不仅仅是基于英国法律(支持保留), 举例来说,最近高等法院决定禁止大英博物馆归还已知是纳粹掠夺的四幅绘画大师画作, see p.53),但在道德基础上,这一点同样适用于未来的收购. Regardless of the fate of individual objects, 只有通过足够多的机构领导者的努力,道德中立的姿态才会比道德明确的姿态更普遍. What will next be seen is whether Mr. MacGregor's peers on both sides of the Pond are tugged more towards the heart, even if led there by the head.

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