An uncertain future for English museums?

According to a survey compiled by the Museums Association, 18 % of museums in the UK — in other words one museum out of five — were affected in 2015 or will be affected in 2016, by partial closures. The “Cuts Survey”, conducted since 2011 by the Museum Association, is based on results of a questionnaire involving 115 participants, and denounces budgetary cuts operated in the culture sector. Even if 61 % of museums recorded higher visitor numbers in 2015, the situation remains delicate. It has even widely deteriorated in the last four years – 44 museums have closed their doors since 2010. According to the same survey, one-quarter of museums cut their staff in 2015 and 47 % of museums earned less money in 2015 than in 2014 — this despite a 6 % increase in capital over the same period. 12 % of museums are therefore considering a change in governance in order to boost efficiency According to the survey, “while many museums are standing strong in the face of sustained cuts to funding by creating stronger partnerships with local communities and generating new streams of income, there are significant numbers that face an uncertain...

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A Year at the Stedelijk: Tino Sehgal

From 1 January 2015 until 31 December 2015, German-British artist Tino Sehgal has been on show in a major survey at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The exhibition, is made up of sixteen “chapters” which unfold over a twelve month period. The exhibition, curated by Beatrix Ruf and Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, features a special presentation each month of a work or “situation” which is enacted in a gallery space with varied “scenography”. The exhibition kicked off in January with Instead of allowing some thing to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things (2000) from the Stedelijk collection. The artist, who is well-known for the works that he considers to be “constructed situations”, utilizes a variety of media, including language, the voice, movement, and interactions with the viewers which are staged at galleries. For the month of September, the ninth installation in the oeuvre, features the work This situation (2007) at gallery 1.2. Tino Sehgal was born in 1976, and was a graduate in political economics and dance before entering the art world. He came into the spotlight when his work was presented at the Venice Biennale and Documenta in Kassel. Sehgal believes that artwork is an encounter between the artworks and the viewers, which offers a completely unique experience in performance...

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Survey of museum staff composition in American museums

A survey done by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on 181 museums speaks on the composition of American museum staff. It notably reveals that while progress has been made in terms of gender quality, ethnic minorities are still under-represented. The survey, done in partnership with AAM (American Alliance of Museums) and the AAMD (Association of Art Museum Directors), shows that 60% of staff employed in American museums are female. Women are over-represented in the functions of curators and commissioners. The report highlights that these posts often lead to holding a high position in museum administration. Regarding ethnic minorities, they make up 28% of personnel but often posts linked to security, equipment, or human resources. 84% of directing posts are occupied by Caucasians, demonstrating that the staff employed by the museums is not indicative of American demographics. For example, 4% of curators, commissioners and members of administration in American museums are African American, despite making up 14% of the American population. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is dedicated to the promotion of the well-being in societies through art and humanities. It was founded in 1969 in upstate New...

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Do art galleries need to review their business model?

Magnus Resch’s book, Management of Art Galleries, has just been published in Great Britain. The book is based on a survey that was conducted of 8,000 galleries (with 1,300 respondents) in order to present a study of the art galleries based in Germany, the United States and Great Britain. The questions asked in the form covered the galleries’ revenue, their localisation and their employees. The author considers that galleries adopt particular strategies to improve their profits, making them more competitive on the market. In an article published on Artnet, he explains that the first initiative to be taken should be “love the market and start talking about money”. The book has stirred up controversy, especially in terms of its angle, which was deemed rather simplistic by a number of specialists. Art Media Agency decided to go over the book’s key points in order to better grasp its scope. The work starts off with the following question: “why are galleries losing so much money when the art business is booming?” This observation can be supported by a number of prestigious galleries who were forced to shut down: Galerie Kamm, based in Berlin, closed its doors in 2004, and the New York gallery Wallspace will put an end to its business on 7 August 2015. The survey conducted by Magnus Resch himself is bringing to light the economic difficulties that galleries are facing: 55% of these galleries have stated that their revenue was less than $200,000 per year and 30% of the respondents are actually losing money each year. The average profit margin of these galleries is 6.5%. It’s true that these numbers affirm that galleries are not all a surplus to the needs, but it’s important to nuance this statement: the surveyed galleries are far from homogeneous and some selection bias should be brought to light. Not all participants in the...

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UK dealers show confidence in market

The results of research commissioned by London Art Fair has demonstrated that 51% of exhibiting galleries at the fair thought that the art market would see positive change in 2015, and 45% believing it will remain at its current level. Results of the same survey last year were slightly more positive, when 61% of galleries said they saw the art market as moving towards more growth. In this year’s survey, 52% of galleries said that they thought the general economy would see positive change, suggesting a link between their view of the art market, and the wider economy; last year, a majority of 70% thought the general economy was on the up. 30% of galleries said that exhibiting international work was an important factor in ensuring their growth and 15% of galleries also said that online ventures were an important...

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