Major art museums are ‘cheating us’

“Our great art institutions are cheating us of our artistic patrimony every day, and if they wanted to, they could stop,” writes Michael O’Hare, professor at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, in the spring 2015 edition of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.


Detail from Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night”

“I tell my students, and only somewhat flippantly, that arts policy is the most important policy arena,” he writes…. “Most people think health policy is right up there — but why live longer if life isn’t worth living? And if you don’t think government has a lot to do with whether and how you can engage with art, you just don’t understand the situation.”

After taking readers on an imaginary field trip through a major museum, as we often experience them today, O’Hare thinks aloud about how museums could encourage public engagement with art – through measures as radical as selling off items they rarely put on view in order to subsidize free admission.

Read Michael O’Hare’s piece in Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.

Related information: Opinion pieces by Michael O’Hare published on the Berkeley Blog.