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Re: I would rather burn them

In a message dated 03/18/2000 9:14:21 AM, prtsbyaj@EUREKANET.COM writes:

<< In either Books or Tools, use is the way to appreciate the collection. In
the case of the Tool, it must be used loveingly and carefully just as in the
original. >>

This remark, in fact this entire discussion, reminds me of an experience from
my young life, which was on a completely different career path. I was a music
major in a midwestern city noted for its interest and support of all things
having to do with music. The city art museum, in many ways wonderful and
certainly one source for my later decision to "switch" to visual art, housed
an incredible collection of musical instruments dating over several
centuries. During a tour of this collection, I asked if the instruments were
ever played. The answer was no. Additionally, since most of the instruments
had not been played for a very long time, they could no longer BE played.
When a tool, in this case a musical instrument, is not used, it deteriorates
until it can no longer fulfill its original function. Some call this
conservation, but if the original intent is lost through that conservation,
what is being conserved? The CONCEPT of the tool? What is that and of what
use is it?

In graduate school, one of my professors, a sculptor whose work is in museum
collections all over the world, made a point of telling his students that
every piece he ever made or sold or donated was created with the express
purpose of gradually disintegrating, in part or in total. He was making a
statement about art, conservation, museums and the futility of attempting
immortality. It still resonates with me.

Barbara Harman

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