For artnet News, Naomi Rea follows museums’ forays into the “experience economy,” which emphasizes the non-virtual, immersive aspects of visiting physical places. While the commercial world has borrowed from the language and tactics of museums in the past, she observes, the reverse is now true too. With this bidirectional influence, are the commercial and cultural sectors converging too closely?
While traditionalists might balk at the very thought of museums morphing into millennial pink playgrounds like the Museum of Ice Cream (which even has its own arty acronym MOIC), in an age of declining public funding for museums, and at a time when donors want to see their philanthropy reach a broad and younger audience, institutions ignore the experience economy at their peril.
Remember around 10 years ago, when "curate" became the mot du jour, descending from the ivory tower of museums and white-cube galleries to describe everything from coffee carts to sneaker stores to nightclubs? Now there's a new buzzword in town, and that word is "experience."