Marc Wilson, director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, will retire next year, joining fellow museum heads around the country in a mini exodus. Tyler Green, whose Modern Art Notes blog is essential reading for anyone who cares about, uh, modern art, checked in with Wilson during a recent KC visit. In Green's interview, published on MAN last week in two parts, Wilson mentions something pretty cool: "A third of [Nelson-Atkins] attendance now comes from households with incomes of less
than $55,000. That tells you the people who are coming are not just on
our lofty donor boards."
Wilson also offers a candid tidbit about life in the business of big-time museum management. See, you gotta deal with the nonbelievers. As he explains about the famous Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen sculptures on the museum's lawn:
At the time some of the reaction to [the] Shuttlecocks was nasty, nasty, nasty.Thus was recorded the first attempt ever at performance art by an Independence resident.
A lady sent me a box with her return address on it. It was from Independence,
Missouri. I opened it up and it was a diaper full of baby poop along with a note
saying that this was her daughter's work of art and it was certainly the equal
of the Shuttlecocks.