Showing posts from March, 2007

The Digital Museum and the Art Ecosystem

Why do art museums exist? To preserve the cultural heritage represented by art objects and educate the public about art, if you examine museum charters. But why do they survive? Or more to the point, how do they survive? Museums are expensive operations and the immediate economic value of the cultural heritage and public education they provide may seem small, at least to the narrow-minded. Nonetheless, museums seem to survive and even thrive, so there is some sort of economic engine operating behind the scenes. What can it be? Well, let's examine the set of players involved in art. There are artists and collectors, of course. Beyond that there is the general public, people who are in the main neither artists nor collectors. Next we have museums, which are different from collectors in the use to which they put their collections. Collectors assemble art for their own enjoyment, while museums do so in order to share it with the general public. There are middlemen like art d