Sunday, July 12, 2020

Malcolm Gladwell's podcast series

A friend recently steered me to "Revisionist History", a podcast series from Malcolm Gladwell. As I am a fan of Gladwell's books, I was interested to access his thought-provoking ideas in another format.

I was especially intrigued by Episode 1 of Season 5, titled "Dragon Psychology 101", in which Gladwell examines the whole rationale of art museums. He makes the point that so often museums are judged on the size of their collections, and their directors are judged by how much the collection expands during their tenures.

Gladwell questions whether the high cost of maintaining and storing millions of artifacts is justified, especially if the collections are so vast that most of the holdings will never see the light of day. Perhaps government money and charitable giving would be better directed elsewhere?

Episode 2 of Season 5, "Hedwig's Lost Van Gogh", explores the dilemma of museum collections further, with a focus on deaccession and restitution. Much food for thought here.

No comments: