Monday, October 02, 2006

Bruce Bailey wants a portrait gallery


And he wrote eloquently about his desires over the weekend in the Globe & Mail. And I wholeheartedly agree with his line 'The Internet, however, is no substitute for seeing art in the flesh and the excitement of a shared museum experience cannot be duplicated through solitary clicks on one's computer.' However his arguement falls flat on its face when he starts talking about Frank Gehry and the Guggenheim Bilbao as if that is a panacea for everything that is wrong in the arts.

Bilbao had nothing before the Guggenheim. Just as Las Vegas had nothing until they built The Strip. Writing that another museum will save Ottawa is the same as assuming that Las Vegas is down on its luck and needs another casino. Gug Bilbao cost over $100 million, the portrait gallery has a budget of less than $45 million - or in slightly plainer language 'ooh lets save culture and Ottawa by building a smaller museum!'

What I'd suggest, take the remaining $35 million and distribute it equally to the more than 2,000 museums in Canada (less than $17,500 per museum) and let them do what they want with the windfall.

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