Synopses & Reviews
An irreverent, highly original look at our rocky relationship with museums and museums' rocky relationship with us.
If you've ever considered going to an art museum and then thought, errr, I'll do something else . . . If you've ever arrived and left a little glazed and confused . . . If you've ever thought, I might read an eight-page article about art museums but not a whole book . . . Then this is your story.
"Museum Legs"--taken from a term for art fatigue--starts with a question: Why do people get bored and tired in art museums and why does that matter? As Whitaker writes in this humorous and incisive collection of essays, museums matter for reasons that have less to do with art as we know it and more to do with business, politics, and the age-old question of how to live.
Maybe the great age of museums will yet be a great age of creativity and hopeful possibility in everyday life.
"Amy Whitaker's sparkling meditations on the museum are both delightful and pressing. She explains how we might reattain our sense of wonder, and how museums might rediscover their essence: relating to patrons without being patronizing, and sustaining themselves without selling out." (Jonathan Zittrain, Professor, Harvard University, author of "The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It")
"Whitaker writes with such wit and style--I was completely absorbed and laughed and nodded in equal measure. Really, I loved it." (Sophie Howarth, Director, School of Life)
"Whitaker's thoughtful and intriguing essays are a reminder of the gifts of moments of reflection, insight, and pleasure that museums can offer to society, and the missed opportunities if we aren't ever mindful of what museums can accomplish." (Gail C. Andrews, Director, Birmingham Museum of Art)
"It is so extraordinary to ask these simple questions and to have the courage to look for answers. Museums would be a better place to visit if they questioned themselves as Whitaker does." (Alfredo Jaar, artist)
About the Author
Amy Whitaker has an MBA from Yale and an MFA in painting from the Shade. She has worked at the Guggenheim, MoMA and the Tate, and for a well-known artist and a well-known hedge fund. Her first degree from Williams College is in political science and studio art. Her drawings and paintings are held in collections in the United States and United Kingdom. She has worked as an economics fellow studying U.S. regulatory agencies at Yale and in legal research at Harvard. She likes teaching economic theory to artists--as compiled in the booklet Business School for Artists--and, conversely, painting and art history to businesspeople. Her work has appeared previously in the British journal Architectural Design and in the New York Times. Originally from the South, she now divides her time between New York and London. This is her first book.