Archivos por Etiqueta: vigilancia

Guarding Jeff Koons

A Photo Essay by Hrag Vartanian in Hyperallergic.
Thanks to Dominique Hurt .


“Nevertheless, some museum visitors might see guards, so often silent and stone-faced, as more machine than human. That is a misconception. Many guards … speak with obvious passion about the exhibitions, as well as the visitors, for which they feel responsible.

“Museum guards find the lost, shepherd the confused and save runaway toddlers from impending collisions with immovable sculptures. The job demands long hours, constant vigilance and a reservoir of patience to put up with illicit picture takers, soda smugglers and pontificating amateur art critics, among other annoyances. Consider these guards the army grunts of the art world.”

—David Wallis, “Varied Duties, and Many Facets, in a Guard’s Life,” New York Times, March 20, 2013


‘One of the things is that people always forget about museums, and forget about guards, is that when the docents go, the curators go, we’re the only ones left,’ says Booker, 72, one of several museum guards at L.A.’s major museums who talked about their unusual line of work for a Sunday Arts & Books story.

“‘And patrons are very demanding — they don’t care if you are a curator, they want to know, and you are supposed to know because you are standing in front of this stuff,’ Booker continues. ‘And to know a lot, more than just where’s the toilet and where’s the Picasso. They want to know about every kind of art there is.’”

—Diane Haithman, “Museum security guards: Lots of art and a little eavesdropping,” Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2011


“Aside from the fact that the Russian museum guards appear to be a homogenous corps of women of a certain age and museum security staff in the U.S. is more diverse, the two significant differences between guarding art in Russia and guarding art in this country is the uniform and the chair.”

—Robin Wander, “Lens turned on museum guards in new exhibit at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center,” Stanford News, July 25, 2012


“I set out to get the opinions of these master observers on the pieces they guard day in and day out. Unfortunately, getting them to open up turned out to be more difficult than I had originally thought. I went to the Whitney Biennial’s press preview thinking I could waltz up to anyone with a badge, ask them whatever I wanted, and be met with a happy reply. Instead, my questions were answered with questions like, ‘Who are you?’ and, ‘Why are you asking me this?’ Later, I emailed the museum’s senior publicist and was told that ‘it is Whitney policy to have only curators comment on the art…’ Bourgeois elitism! Someone take the cork out of these untapped geysers of art criticism and let them gush!”

—Xavier Aaronson, “No Fluff in Their Stuff: Museum Guards Review the Whitney Biennial,” Vice, April 5, 2012


“When I worked at the Walker, we had a series of tiny (about two or three inches high, for easy concealment) books called Bored Beyond Belief. They passed hands from guard to guard, and everyone added things – stories, writing, art, and comics.

“Most of the guards were artists of some kind, so they were usually well drawn and always entertaining, especially when faced with the kind of sensory deprivation one is sometimes subjected to in that situation. (My first month there was rotating through six empty galleries and a Donald Judd exhibit.)

“I believe that most of them are in the possession of the series originator.”

—@xicana63 on “A Day in the Life of a Security Guard,” Metafilter, November 14, 2013


“Is it about, that the guards matter? Or is it about the matter of the guards … And we thought it’s basically about both those things.”

—Margot Adler, “Museum Guards ‘Sw!pe’ The Spotlight,” NPR, March 20, 2010


‘Part of the advantage of hiring artists and art students is that they’re more enthusiastic about the artwork,’ said Joel Woodard, head of security.”

—Kathleen Luppi, “Art Museum’s guards aren’t just security experts — they’re also artists,” Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, July 31, 2014


“The game consists of two-minute matches in which two players take on two roles: the photographer and the guard. The photographer’s task is to take a photo of each museum exhibit by moving next to it, while the guard has to take the photographer into custody before he succeeds.”

—András Neltz, “Tourists Face Off Against Museum Guards in a Great-Looking Party Game,” Kotauku, December 31, 2013


“‘[Performance artist] Marina Abramovic attracted a lot of people from all over the country. Two days before the exhibition ended, a lady waited all day and couldn’t get her time. She said she was going to sleep outside the museum all night so she’d be first in line for the final day. The next morning, she was the first person queued up. As she approached Marina, she started taking off her clothes. The security officers surrounded her and covered her up. She said, ‘This is what Marina likes! I’m performing too.’ We managed to get her to put her clothes back on, but she started crying when we had to ask her to leave.’—Tunji Adeniji, director of facilities and safety, MoMA”

—Sarah Bruning, “Museum stories of the worst museumgoers security guards have seen,” Time Out New York, June 25, 2014


“For the grand finale of the museum of museum guards, perhaps even for the encore, it would have to be a guard from the third floor of the National Gallery. Between attempts to bring the Italian Renaissance and German Romanticism closer together, it resounds, so that the marble in the columns starts to shake and the faces of boys and girls on the paintings flush. The museum, in which the exhibits protect themselves alone, will end with a room with a display of the fart of a guard, an act inspired by classical art, a gesture of pure, organic creative expression, without restraint and without apology.”

—Aleš Šteger, “The Museum of Museum Guards” (translation by Brian Henry), Blackbird Archive


Jeff Koons: A Retrospective continues at the Whitney Museum (945 Madison Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan) until October 19.

Armed museum guards to prevent looting

Lawrence Rothfield, director de la Cultura Policial de la Universidad de Chicago argumenta que los propios guardas de seguridad de los museos deberían ser capaces de defender sus colecciones para no dejarlo a manos de los militares o las autoridades locales. Se refiere en concreto a saqueos como los acontecidos en Iraq o Egipto, pero también apunta que así debería ser en países como los Estados Unidos que también pueden sufrir una alteración del orden social o político en cualquier momento.

Fuente: The Guardian

Museum guards and others tasked with protecting the world’s cultural treasures should be routinely armed to defend heritage sites from the depredations of conflict, according to a leading expert.


Professor Lawrence Rothfield, faculty director of the University of Chicago’s cultural policy centre, told the Guardian that ministries, foundations and local authorities “should not assume that the brutal policing job required to prevent looters and professional art thieves from carrying away items is just one for the national police or for other forces not under their direct control”.

He was speaking in advance of the annual conference of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (ARCA), held over the weekend in the central Italian town of Amelia. Rothfield said he would also like to see museum attendants, site wardens and others given thorough training in crowd control. And not just in the developing world.

“Even in the US and other very stable countries, disasters can occur that open the door to looting,” he said, citing New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina as an example of how quickly normality can disintegrate.

His controversial proposal follows a string of heritage disasters arising from the turmoil in the Middle East. In 2003, looters ransacked the Iraqi national museum. In January, as protests against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak gathered momentum, thieves broke into the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo.


Most recently, there have been reports that the Libyan conflict has put some cultural treasures at risk. Another conference, held under the auspices of Unesco and the Italian government at Caserta near Naples this month, heard from representatives of the anti-Gaddafi rebels of a robbery at the Bank of Benghazi in May. One of those present reported that the treasures stolen included Greco-Roman gold and silver artefacts and coins.

Rothfield’s views hardened while conducting a study of the Cairo museum raid. Much remains unclear about the incident, including whether “the whole thing was a well-controlled gambit to persuade the international community that the country was descending into chaos and that the revolt needed to be crushed”, he said.

But two key points had emerged. One was that the museum authorities were unable to count on the police when they needed them most. The second was that no amount of education on the value and importance of cultural heritage would prevent a disaster.

Egyptians have long been schooled to treasure the evidence of their past. But, said Rothfield, “even if you have 90% of the people on your side, it doesn’t take many others to do the damage”.

That, of course, does not mean education is dispensable. One of Rothfield’s fellow speakers at ARCA’s conference was Laurie Rush, an archaeologist attached to the US army’s 10th Mountain Division.

Her mission is to help soldiers identify cultural property in their forward deployments and keep damage to a minimum. Five years ago, her unit produced a pack of cards, each with a different message about heritage protection.

The nine of spades, for example, has a picture of a Chinook helicopter and the message: “Rotor rush can damage archaeological sites. Locate your landing zones a safe distance away from known sites.” Rush said she had secured changes to army regulations, and these had saved a Mesopotamian settlement, several thousand years old, near forward operating base Hammer, east of Baghdad.

“A young soldier contacted us having seen military contractors scooping up dirt to make an earthen wall. He realised it was archaeological material and, because of our project, there were military regulations that empowered the base commander to give orders for the protection of the site.”

Many other sites in Iraq have been less fortunate. The invasion was the prelude to a calamity for Iraq’s cultural heritage. Rothfield said it was estimated that looters had dug up three times the area excavated before the invasion.


“The Baghdad museum lost around 15,000 items, half of which were recovered. But the country has lost several hundred thousand items, and they will probably never come back,” he said.

La prudente distancia del Guernica


Foto de Manuel Pérez Barriopedro de un Guardia Civil, arma en mano, junto al cristal blindado que protegía el Guernica tras su llegada al Casón del Buen Retiro de Madrid, en 1981.

La llegada de la obra fue celebrada como el “final de la transición” por el director general de Bellas Artes, Javier Tusell:

En 1995, se retira el cristal blindado. Ello se debía, según la ministra de Cultura, Carmen Alborch, a que “España vive un momento de madurez ciudadana que permite la contemplación del cuadro sin temor a riesgos desagradables.”

Vigilante junto al Guernica, 2013.

Qué diferente la manera que el propio Picasso eligió para presentar la obra en Milán en 1953, con motivo de la retrospectiva realizada en el Palazzo Reale.


El sistema de vigilancia del Museo Guggenheim

Un pase de Oier Gil