Zainub Verjee delivered the keynote address on the Future of Art galleries at the Art Gallery of Burlington in Ontario.
“We are living in an era in which the shape of the art Museum-Gallery, what it stands for and how it operates, is being rapidly reconfigured, said Zainub Verjee delivering the keynote address on the Future of Art Galleries at the Art Gallery of Burlington in Ontario, Canada.
Zainub hightlighted the fact that Public Art Galleries in Canada have a specific history and those historical contexts and rationale need to be reevaluated to foster the imagination of Art Gallery in Canada. “We need to delink to enable the re-imagination and re configuration of Public Art Galleries so that they are able re-invent themselves”, she argued.
She stated, “one way is to reimagine the Art Gallery is as a site of innovation. In the larger context of the emergence of “Know all” society in which the triumph of algorithmic knowhow of course of which we all are beneficiaries but this means all aspects of our lives activities has become part of a set of procedural and programmed actions. Not to deny the accomplishments rather to say how our engagement of minds and lives in the shaping the world should proceed. Also, this algorithmic knowledge is often stereotyped as problem solving. Infact such algorithmic knowledge, it is claimed at a higher level, that it is largely about generating problems, it is about innovation. But if one thinks carefully innovation means shifting and changing things within a particular framework.”
Taking a macro view she emphasized that the art economy is speeding up and this is really about that. “The rise of mega galleries, franchises. About the rise of art fairs. There’s a precise date for that, 1994. Before that, art fairs were trade fairs. I remember how artists in the ’80s made the emphatic point that under no circumstances would they be represented in
art fairs. They thought that it was in poor taste. That is how it was in the beginning. And has been quite astonishing to see how things have turned around—in 30 years. There has been a total reversal. What this implies is that the sacredness of Gallery as the central institution of Modernism has been dislodged with the post-modern and post-structuralist movement and from the centre, Galleries have been made into outposts of a new order where in the ART FAIRS play the pivot role!”
Pointing towards the two sectors, she said “we cannot avoid the closer collaboration between the commercial world and the traditional ‘public’ sector. “The question is : Will there be a ‘Gagosian moma’ or a ‘Google Tate’, for instance? Here I am alluding to the very out posts like the Franchise galleries Gagosian or Louvre in AbuDhabi!”
“There will be rising inequality of opportunity between museums/Galleries; insurgent institutions, new and old, that crowd-fund from a wide, shallow support group to undermine the universalizing mainstream and offer new forms of agency to communities. There will be an emergence of the idea of a ‘museum of the commons’ that breaks with ownership and commercial logic to serve new constituencies and generate a different political and intellectual space for art than the tired territories of modernity”, Verjee cautioned.