The Influence Of Color On Museum Design Research Proposals Example
Museums and the Influence of Color
Exhibition design and other museum practices transform decorative art and objects on display in the environment of the museum. Museums as public spaces negotiated socio-cultural hierarchies, educated national citizens, have functioned as a tool of empire, and retain a dialectical function. Because of the pedagogic function of these cultural institutions, the projection of reality and authenticity undergird the formation of many exhibitions. Aesthetics often underlie the projection of authenticity in the various forms of display and the knowledge they impart, as the authentic underlies the modern. Indeed, the etiology of decorative arts is varied, thereby rendering it almost impossible to replicate the design aspects from their original contexts while also visually articulating a coherent narrative on display in a different museum environment. Color and lighting, however, facilitates the ability to tie together seemingly disparate pieces of decorative art and design (McGlinchey, 1993, p. 44). According to Crew and Sims (1991), objects in museums are “dumb” until they are put on display in museums and conserved, which thereby imbues them with a stabilized, and fixed meaning that pertains to the museum environment (p. 25).Museums thus produce cultural knowledge through its placement as well as how the materials are organized in order to control the gaze of the spectator. Color takes a variety of forms and plays a significant role in creating meaning of the designs and the decorative art. The moments of change regarding the use of color signified shifting social, political, and cultural contingencies that belied the notion of “fashionable” or “unfashionable” in order to cater to more modernized aesthetics and artistic sensibilities of the public gaze.
The notion of the spectator’s gaze as an analytic framework of analysis undergirds how and why museum practices regarding color and design evolve in the way that they do. Within a Lacanian framework, the gaze of the spectator is very act of buying into a visual discourse predicated on cultural constructs. Thus, decorative arts in the museum retain currency only if they are explained through environmental stimuli. Thus, the visual world is indeed culturally constructed, and the participation of social beings must be attracted to certain values and ideas in relation to the narrative of the museum and its pedagogy. Color unequivocally influences forms and styles in the decorative arts and artistic displace in museums as a result of shifting geographical and social contexts.
Stripped of their socio-cultural contexts, objects on display in museums are grafted into a new museum environment in a way that not only amplifies the pedagogy of the new museum and display but also elicits spectatorship in order to disseminate cultural ideas to the masses. Decorative arts indeed are collected and put on display because of their aesthetic currency and relevance to modern tastes. Display value vis-à-vis the aesthetic appeal of the object supersedes its original cultural, economic, or social meanings because aesthetics are what elicit the attention of the spectator. Thus, display techniques that elicit the interest of the visitor are privileged over ideological concerns (Alpers, 1991, p. 25). Color is unequivocally one of the most potent visual and aesthetic tools that an artist and designer can deploy to visually articulate certain ideas and communicate with the spectator. Indeed, it influences how a spectator perceives spatiality, moods, and shapes. Moreover, color retains a multitude of different meanings that traverses various cultural contexts (Kriegel, 2007). Color symbolism, which is culturally and politically contingent, and the interface between a color as an aesthetic value and the immediate environment in which it is placed in or elicited is quite complex. It nonetheless imbues certain meanings into objects on display in a museum environment that often retain significant cultural and pedagogical currency.
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Crew, S. & Sims, J. (1991). “Locating authenticity” in I. Karp & S. Levine (Eds) Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. 25-32.
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