Monday, August 12, 2013

Stuck at the Met

The Gotlands Museum in Sweden

We’re all familiar with the colorful freeform encrustations that grow on the walls, pipes, and any street furniture in close proximity to museums these days. I always smile at these organic accretions of discarded admission stickers. Their lively messiness provides the perfect counterpoint to the curated seriousness of the very institutions from which they originate.

So, in some way, I was kind of looking forward to seeing what the Met would roll out to replace their iconic and much-loved colored metal tabs which were recently retired after 42 years. Because if ever there was a high-profile occasion for an elegant or interesting design solution, this was surely it. Right?

The other day was my first visit to the museum since the changeover to paper admission stickers. At the exit, there used to be elegant acrylic receptacles filled with colored metal tabs. Now there are very ordinary stanchioned-mounted boards, the kind you might find at a convention informing you which plenary session is to take place in which ballroom. They are positioned to accept the exiting museumgoer’s blue and white rectangular sticker. That’s right, the stickers are, according to a guard I queried, always blue on white.

Too bad the Met, of all places, passed on the opportunity to create what might have been an interesting, or even inspired admissions interface. Instead they seem to have opted for the Staples method (just push the “easy button” and hop on the aesthetic blandwagon).

But let’s wait a while, there’s no telling what might become of those boring little stickers …

Board at the Met

The Sinebrychoff Taidemuseo, Helsinki

I was very excited to recognize the portraits on some the stickers as the ones photographed by Finnish artist Jorma Puranen!

Results of a Flickr search

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