"Museums and art galleries exhibit cultural traditions". Discuss this statement with reference to an exhibition you have seen. (Brisbane Art Gallery)

Essay by KesingtonHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 2005

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Museums and art galleries do exhibit cultural traditions to a certain extent, but often try to confront the audience's expectations. As cultural traditions are the conventions accepted by a society to display its culture, tastes or preferences and are governed by time and context, these traditions are constantly changing. Therefore challenging the mainstream becomes a challenge in itself. Opinions and beliefs change over time so museums and art galleries exhibit a range of works to appeal to a wide audience and present new ideas that could revolutionise the way people relate to art, though they may b confronted at first.

Brisbane gallery contained a number of exhibits ranging from the new Fiona Hall gallery, indigenous works, sculpture and installations, and an exhibition from Queensland's year twelve artists. Curators at the gallery strive to find talented contemporary artists and present the best of these, rather than the more expensive traditional European art works.

As a result of this, Brisbane gallery contains new and thought-provoking ideas through art, some of which are confronting for the audience.

Fiona Hall, an Australian artist, used few traditional materials in her art works but instead utilised items such as aluminium cans, sardine cans, video tape cases and soap. She synthesised her own ideas and beliefs as underlying meaning in her works, for example the "Medicine bundle for the non-born child" which contained baby garments, bottles and a rattle all fashioned out of deadly sharp shredded Coca-Cola cans. Hall was commenting on the effect of multi-national companies and their monopoly on communities, but also revealed that in developing counties Coca-Cola is used as a spermicide. Thus the "non-born" child's layette is created. Another example is the soap vegetable sculpture and leaf money display; here she indicates the destruction of human beings to a natural environment. The unique...