to previous page
Now, what about the museum's identity? Does the museum define what is art? If is doesn't, it may no
longer be an art museum. Nothing can be taken for granted.
Four hundred years ago, no public art museum existed in the world. Public art museums came about
only after the realization that: 1. The earth is round, not flat; 2. The earth is filled with our
species; and 3. Almost all of them are making what could be thought of as art. So is the museum
challenged by this question of "what is art"? Of course! Since their inception, art museums have
been thus challenged. This is primarily because no one is quite sure what art is. The definition
of art is continually evolving. This tumultuous process going on before us is one of the
reasons life can be so interesting....and more than reasonable.
The philosophy underlying "The Foot in the Door Show" is uniquely American, it asserts that you
are who you want to be and that everyone's invited. And while visual art is often discussed in
spiritual terms, it has material form.
This brings us back to where we started, will there
be enough room in the gallery for all the art? Will unanticipated productions strain
the gesture of good will?
Appreciation for this show has grown with each decade. The first "Foot in the Door Show"
in 1980 included 740 artists. The second, in 1990, included 882 artists.
What excitement will happen in this new millennium's "Foot in the Door Show"? There
is an ancient saying, "We will just have to wait and see." This being a visual arts
museum, that seems more than reasonable. After all, that's what "The Foot in the Door
Show" is about, opening the doors....and seeing.
Stewart Turnquist is the Coordinator of the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program
at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts.