Have you ever watched a TV show or film that featured a character with the same job as you? Have you ever thought, 'But, that's not how it is at all!' Us, too! So, as part of a limited content series titled MoPOP Movie Reviews, we'll take a look back at some of our favorite films and analyze how museums, art work, and art workers are portrayed.
A note before we begin: the tragic loss of the Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman, still hits us hard, and we want to take a moment to reflect on his tremendous talent, legacy, and life. This film would have never resonated with so many without his incomparable performance as the titular hero.
This month we’re reviewing Black Panther, and we’re super excited about it. Given, this is a short scene related to museum/art work, but it’s got SO MUCH content. Amalia Kozloff (MoPOP Curator) and Chris Moore (MoPOP Exhibits Projects Coordinator) were joined by KwapiVengesayi (MoPOP Public Engagement Producer) to review this scene on a microscopic level, and we all had an awesome time discussing how much Black Panther just straight up got it right.
OK, now let's dive in. The same rules as previous MoPOP Movie Reviews apply: Black Panther starts with 20 points and gains or loses points throughout the review depending on our staff's assessed levels of realism in the museum/art work fields. This should be an interesting one!
All right, this one’s easy. You all know what we are going to say: No drinks allowed in galleries. No drinks for curators in galleries. Just no drinks ever in galleries. Ever.* Stop It. That curator knows better and it drives us insane. For real, when we said we were reviewing this movie, all of our colleagues immediately went to, “Oh yeah, the curator with the coffee...”
Oh! Also? There’s talk in reviews that maybe she’s a director. You know what? NO DIRECTOR COFFEE IN GALLERIES EITHER.
Museum/Art Work Realism Review: -10 points
Running Total: 10/20 points
*Ok,maybewe’reoversimplifyinghere. There are medical reasons why someone may need to keep a water bottle on their person. In general, if you see someone with awater bottlein a gallery, alert a staff member.Don’tbe "that guy" that harasses someone with a medical need.
Overwhelming Security Guards
We counted four security guards in that gallery at once. How many spare guards does this museum employ at a time?And,are they all hanging out in thisonegallery 24/7, or is it just because there’s aBlackperson in the gallery? Becausewe’reguessing they don’tusuallyhave that many guards in one location at a time. Itspeaksto therealityof BIPOCexperiencesinpublicspaces.And,if someone wants to make the argument that there are this many guards because of the curator in gallery... asmuch aswe’dlike to treat our curators like prized jewels, they won’t allow us. Becausethat’sreally weird.
Museum/Art Work Realism Review: -10 points
Running Total: 0/20 points
Curators Are Sometimes Wrong
How many times have wereceived an email from a guestwho’san expert on a topic? So many, folks. Like, SO MANY. Basically, every time we open anew exhibition, we wait for the emails. We budget in extra money for graphics because there will besomethingwewantto re-print.Sometimes thecontent is wrong becausenew information comes to light. Sometimes it’s wrong because we’ve got literally THOUSANDS of words in a galleryand a typo slipsby us. And sometimes it’s wrong because of computer goblins (it’s areal thing!).Whatever it is,we’dratherknow and fix it than have wrong information up that non-experts will take as truth.
Museum/Art Work Realism Review: +6 points
Running Total: 6/20 points
A Lot of Museums Have a History of Displaying + Collecting Stolen Artifacts
As mentioned in our review of Raiders of the Lost Ark, a fair amount of stuff in museums was collected unethically, and even stolen. This is problematic in a lot of ways. We’re not going to get into that here because you can read about it in our earlier blog. Instead, we’re going to talk about our acquisition process because we’re quite proud of it, tbh. Amalia’s been working on documentation of this process, but we’ll translate. We hope to do a deeper dive on our acquisition process in the future because YAY TRANSPARENCY, but this is just going to be a quick info dump: Basically, MoPOP has always collected their objects through fair, ethical, and equitable methods. When we have purchased objects, wepay creators either fair or above market values for their creations and many of our donations are from the creators themselves. If we buy an artifact from a third-party vendor (like an auction house or whatever) then we make sure that it hasn’t been stolen or acquired in other problematic ways.
Ifyou’reanywhere nearMoPOP, you can tell that we’re aslightlyvery different style of museum than thestereotypeofthemodern,white-walled,sterilemuseum. This isn’t a call out post to any of our fellow museums, just an observation...BUT WHAT’S WITH THE WHITE WALLS?Yeah, you don’t need totake it tothecrazylevelthatwedo.And yes,shameless self-plugs because our exhibits are awesome.
Museum/Art Work Realism Review: +2 points
Running Total: 18/20 points
MoPOP Loves Black Panther
They really hit the major notes in museum life and even delved into some of the more nuanced parts of it. AsKwapisaid, “You couldteach a college courseon this scenealone,” andhe’sabsolutelyright.
Final Total For Museum/Art Work Realism: 18/20 points