In Lean Times, New Ways to Reach Out
Each ad carries the name of the photographer (who will be paid $250 per photograph and receive a one-year membership to the museum), and the date and time the photograph was taken. “In the 19th century people would make a sketch in the galleries,” Mr. Campbell said. “Now they take pictures and upload them.”
The campaign is splashed on the sides of Manhattan buses, in the subways, on train platforms, on Web sites and even on the construction fence outside the museum’s Fifth Avenue entrance.
“For years our advertising was focused around special exhibitions,” Mr. Campbell said. “But in this time of gloom and doom we want to show people we’re a haven, a place to explore, discover and find inspiration.”
In a campaign that ended this month, the Museum of Modern Art plastered a Brooklyn subway station with reproductions of 58 works from the museum’s permanent collection. The Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street station’s tiled walls and columns and even the arms of the turnstiles were covered with images of iconic works in the MoMA collection, including Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans, Monet’s waterlilies and Duchamp’s bicycle wheel. The campaign, which was seen by an estimated 50,000 commuters a day, was intended to remind New Yorkers of the riches that make up the museum’s holdings.
With costly blockbusters on the wane, in fact, promoting permanent collections has become a priority. Last year, MoMA mounted two shows centered on important paintings in its collection, and the museum has plans for a similar effort in September — an exhibition based on the Monet waterlilies.
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is in the middle of a major reinstallation of its permanent collections. Plans include rotating it as often as three or four times a year. “Our permanent collection has not been as visible as it should be,” said the center’s director, Olga Viso. She also will invite artists to create a work of art using something in the collection as inspiration. “The point is to show that our collection is a living and dynamic resource that we draw from,” Ms. Viso said.