We caught wind of the Büchel vs. Mass MoCA several months ago in an off the record conversation, but it has to be said that dispute has ballooned into a far greater mess than anyone could have anticipated then. At the time, Christoph Büchel had only quit working on the promised installation which involved the use of some rather expensive materials including the charred fuselage of an airliner — no one knew how Mass MoCA was going to respond. Certainly we didn’t expect a legal claim from the museum that the work itself is not art.
Now, I don’t need to explain the reasons this line of rationale creates problems to know that before I do, every artist reading this information will have stored this information away as “Self interested Museum willing to trod upon artists.” Regardless of whether the sentiment holds any degree of accuracy, it astounds me that a museum could get so caught up in an fight, that they could lose site of what a move like this might do not only to their public image, but the public funding of art in the future.
For more on this subject see: