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R Takashi Murakami Louis Vuitton Boutique in MOCA for duration of Murakami Retrospective Exhibit If you read the headlines, the papers, the news, you know that our most hallowed institutions have been shamed by scandals that started with a violation of the public trust.
The Catholic church in America enabled child molesters to operate simply by moving them to other parishes when they were publicly accused. Major League Baseball, the national past time, has seen its most revered accomplishments fall to players who have used synthetic substances to alter their physical strength and turn flyouts into homeruns and fastballs into un-hittable pitches.
So this is happening everywhere, not just art, so our respected institutions of art and culture should not be immune from becoming whorehouses. Where there was once the exhibition of publicly owned artworks and where private foundations were dedicated to highlighting and preserving the best of culture, well, there now is a Louis Vuitton store IN the museum really, this is not a metaphor, there is a store with salespeople and cash registers - separate and exclusive from the MOCA store itself without a shred of pretense that it is anything but a well-lit booth in a mall.
Artist Takashi Murakami designed some Vuitton bags and therefore it is art because he is an artist - this is the infantile, sinister logic of a compromised, cash-starved institution.
Where the bookstores were almost trinket-free and filled with sustaining picturebooks and deep texts, we now have limited edition prints for sale, artist-endorsed pillows, skateboards, and the like. And this is at the museum bookstore, not the separate Vuitton boutique MOCA employees don't even get a discount at the Vuitton boutique, not that their salaries could afford them a Murakami-LV handbag.