Sunday, February 13, 2005

We Need More Razzle Dazzle

Why is it free to enter a repository for books but you have to pay admission to enter a repository for art? Is access to textual information a right and access to visual information a privilege? I suppose, like sports stadiums and theatrical productions, art is considered entertainment rather than education. Maybe it's edu-tainment.

I was thinking about this while watching a news brief on Bravo discussing a flap over the new $20 admission fee at the MoMA. The program spoke with people from both sides of the debate: those who felt that the price of viewing art was too high and those who felt that it was a bargain of a price considering the cost of broadway show tickets. It is supposed that art goers are of the same financial status as broadway goers. Perhaps that's true. Artists and actors can't afford much of either.


Blogger Zeke's, the Montreal Art Gallery said...


Ummm, what sort of museums do you have in BC? Here in Montreal it is free to enter the museums and see their permanent collection. In England it is the law that all museums must be free?

7:00 AM  
Blogger Anne Walk said...

hi Chris!

Well, the Vancouver Art Gallery has an admission of $15. They do, however, offer thursday's as a "by donation" night. I don't believe that this applies to the "blockbuster" shows. Those always cost more.

The Vancouver Museum charges $10.

I was replying specifically to the MoMA's new entrance fee with my post, however. I know that the galleries in the states have entrance fees. I've been to a few and had to pay each time.

Here in Penticton, the price of admission to our little gallery is a mere $2.

Artist Run Centres have a mandate to provide their shows at no fee to the audience as a requisite to their funding. I wonder why that is not the case for public art galleries?

I'm orginally from Ontario and I remember, as a kid, making my way by bus to Toronto to see a specific show at the AGO with a friend visiting from another province. Neither of us had much money and spent all that we had on the trip. When we got there, we discovered that the show charged admission and neither of us had the money. The current admission there is $12. I can't remember what it was then. I just remember that we couldn't go in.

It's curious to me that admission prices of any sort are levied on art galleries but not on libraries. I understand that this doesn't apply to all art galleries.

It's truly fabulous that England has a law forbiding entrance fees. Quebec, too, giving free access to their permanent collections. How much is it for borrowed collections?

10:35 AM  
Blogger Tyzilee said...

what are you guys gonna do when takes over the internet... hopefully you'll be on our side. better get in our good graces now!!!

12:55 PM  
Blogger Zeke's, the Montreal Art Gallery said...


First off, "borrowed collections" = "blockbuster" shows. Here in Montreal, the MACM (Contemporary) charges $6, the MBAM (Fine Arts) charges $12. And then just to add stuff, just because libraries are free, doesn't necessarily make 'em good. The one's here in Quebec are notoriously horrific. Latest survey results show that only 40% of Montrealers have a library card, as compared to an average of 60% for most major North American cities.

6:21 AM  

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