A bit of an eye-opener today.
The family went to the Haggin Museum in Stockton to see a Salvador Dali display of his illustrations of Dante's Divine Comedy, and a display of native plants that native Americans ate -- in this area. Now, I admire Dali for his bravado and willingness to follow his own drum-beat, but I was most interested in edible plants in Central Valley California, as I live here, and God alone knows when the other shoe is going to fall and people are going to have to figure out ways to eat that are not dependent on SafeWay.
We started with the Dali display, and I pulled out my trusty camera with its low-light settings, and took about four pictures of the most interesting paintings ... and then a docent (museum employee) came up to me and said, "You're not allowed to take pictures in this exhibit."
Well, I knew that flash pics were prohibited throughout the museum, but no one had told me that any photos were not to be taken. But I was fine with that, I guess, and we deleted my pics from my camera while the docent looked on, and was satisfied. "You can buy a book of these paintings," she told me. "And if you want to take pictures of the other displays in the museum, you can sign a release form."
Now, the last time I was in the Haggin Museum, I took pics of the art, and so did numerous other patrons, many of whom used the forbidden flash in spite of the big sign at the entrance that said, "NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY." So this was a surprise to me. But hey, it was an important exhibition of an important work, so whatever ...
The display of native foods ... salmon, acorns, some flower bulbs, elderberries -- those were off-limits for photographs also, as you could buy a book about them downstairs. There were tablets of native food recipes for free hanging on the walls between photos of native Americans plying their cooking skills, but no photos of acorns or baskets or mussel shells were allowed.
"It's because someone might see your pictures and profit from downloading them," a docent told me, after suggesting I sign a release form that would permit me to take pictures of other things in the Haggin. "They might download them, and then sell those images for a profit. So you can't upload your pictures to any online site where other people might see them, not even just your friends."
Salvador Dali's works should never be seen unless someone pays airfare to come to Stockton in the next month, or to New Mexico, where the paintings are based, or they can cough up $299 to buy the book?
What does that say about art? Hey, Shithead, unless you can come up with airfare or big bucks, you can't see these drawings/paintings. That's ridiculous. Here, have a look at what you can already find online, you don't have to rely on some poor-ass tourist's photos:
I have more to say about free art, but that would make this post way too long.
More on this tomorrow.