The Hub Cool News

Art of Commerce

warhol-walmart“The line between retail promotion and museum exhibits has become increasingly blurred,” reports Ellen Gamerman in The Wall Street Journal (6/13/14). Such convergence was highly evident in the Norton Museum of Art’s exhibit of works by “society jeweler David Webb.” The museum “employed the same architect and designer who worked on the brand’s Manhattan flagship location to design the galleries for the Florida museum, too.”

“We wanted people who were accustomed to creating luxe interiors,” says museum director James Hall. The designer, Katie Ridder, didn’t shy away “from using the same color scheme for the interiors and velvet for the display cases as she did for the Madison Avenue boutique.” “I think it definitely has a similar feeling as the store,” she says. A similar influence affected a Bulgari exhibit at Houston’s Museum of Natural Science, where reportedly “the museum exhibit was the main impetus for the Houston store’s makeover.”

Such collaboration does raise conflict-of-interest questions, which Gary Tinterow of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston dismisses, saying that ultimately “the exhibition stands or falls on the strength of the artistry of the material displayed.” In any case, Bulgari boutiques in Houston and San Francisco “were supplied with stacks of tickets” to exhibit openings and “in some cases, the shop set up appointments ahead of time so that visitors could go straight from the museum to the store.”