INTRODUCTION AND PRECEDENTS
Davis Lisboa (São Paulo, Brazil, 1965), installation view of "The Polling Station Section from Davis Museum", 2009-ongoing. Glass ballot box, vinyl and mirror, lacquered wood pedestal, electric rotating base, velvet curtain on metallic bar, framed handmade embroidery on fabric, iPad kiosk, lacquered stool and carpet on wood stage platform. Dimensions: width 97 in (246 cm), height 65 in (166 cm), depth 59 in (150 cm).
Davis Museum | The Davis Lisboa Mini-Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona was founded on Facebook in 2009. It is the first contemporary art museum created in a ballot box through social networks. It functions simultaneously as a readymade sculpture, a collective work of art, and a temporary, mutable conceptual space more than a physical one. A provocation to the art establishment. With its own permanent contemporary art collection, The Davis Museum is also a non-profit artistic project that organizes and produces exhibitions, encourages research, and promotes contemporary art exhibitions. Additionally, The Davis Museum organizes traveling exhibitions to other cultural centers, museums and institutions, nationally and internationally, while generating debate, thought, and reflection. Its mission is the selection, presentation, study, dissemination, and preservation of contemporary art by emerging and renowned artists from around the world.
Although the Davis Museum can't challenge the cultural hegemony, it's an example of the emergence of independent museums created by artists to crack the monopoly of big cultural institutions, the establishment, and an attempt to create alternative channels and increase the visibility of contemporary visual creation, organizing exhibitions, uploading videos and publications as an alternative channel of expressive information. And yes, it could be seen as a small revolution in the way we think, organize and act culturally and politically, and not just in the way we create art with more or less exhibition space or funding.
The Generalitat de Catalunya (Autonomous Community of Kingdom of Spain) formally recognizes the Davis Museum's permanent collection of contemporary art.
Marcel Broodthaers, Musée d'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles, Section XIXe siègle, 30 rue de la Pèpinière, Brussels, September 27, 1968.
In September 1968, after participating in the student riots of May in Brussels, Marcel Broodthaers opened his museum to the public, presenting himself as director. This action, grotesque and comic, was the inception of a new construct for the institution of the “museum.” In this new paradigm, the artist no longer worked or was defined as a producer, but rather as an administrator, occupying the site of control and determination. Broodthaers’ museum and successive work demonstrated a voluntary artistic practice free from the usual institutional influences. Making his own work the very center of administrative power and ideology, Broodthaers became positioned within those structures that had previously been excluded from the conception and reception of the work of art. He was simultaneously able to articulate a critique, playing the roles of artist, audience, and reviewer.
Locating its entire production in the sphere of the consumption culture, Fluxus defined the mercantile goods as the unique object and the unique way of distribution from which the art could take place and be perceived. In many occasions, this departure point took them to simulate" institutional" and “business” frameworks of presentation and distribution: the Fluxushop, the Implosions, the Cédille qui sourit, were "companies" that tried to work like artistic projects of production and distribution of diverse objects and radically democratised tools.
The Galerie légitime (Legitimate gallery) of Filliou was another early example of the institutional critic of Fluxus. "Founded" in 1966, the "galery" was in fact the bowler hat of the artist (when not its Japanese variant or cap), that contained many manufactured objects, notes and photographic images of their own works or from other artists who had chosen (or they had been chosen by Filliou) to "show" in one of his travelling "exhibition".
Marcel Duchamp, Boîte-en-valise, 1936-1941, assemblage, variable dimentions
The Boîte-en-valise began in 1935 as a major retrospective of Duchamp's work, with 69 reproductions to date including small replicas of several readymades. Downsizing the museum exhibition to a portable scale, this "art book" provides an unmistakable similarity with the traveller's suitcase.
Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh
Art since 1900 modernism, antimodernism, postmodernism,
2004, Thames & Hudson, London, pp. 275, 459 and 552.