Museums Are Secretly Controlled By Big White Paint

On Hyperallergic today, Isabella Segalovich had a piece, 15 Things Museums Do That Piss Me Off . An avowed museum junkie, she lists what areas in which she would like museums to do a better job.

She roped me in with her first criticism about museums being too quiet by admitting she was the one shushing her mother (who stuck her tongue out at Isabella in response).

Some of the points on her list are familiar gripes – the cost, not allowing pictures, no-touch policy, accessibility for those with disabilities, picture taking policy. She also brings up issues that have arisen comparatively recently in regard to fair pay, more than superficial motions of inclusivity, and the issue of buildings and spaces being named for problematic individuals.

But she makes some newer critiques like the lack of artists living in the towns and cities whose name appears on the building while the same superstar artists’ work is shown again and again. The lack of indigenous works and folk art in “American galleries.” She complains that galleries are too white—as in the paint on the walls–creating the idea that art has to be viewed in a sterile environment.

There is a lot more nuance to her case than I am providing here. I enjoyed the TikTok video she included showing the reason why one was not permitted to touch the art–which actually might make you want to touch the art.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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