Shared Spaces and Virtual Places: TheMoMAproject and the Transformation of the Art Museum Experience

By Lisa Chandler.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Phenomena such as theMoMAproject pose interesting
challenges to art institutions such as New York’s Museum of
Modern Art (MoMA) as they seek to open the space of the
museum to diverse audiences. TheMoMAProject (TMP) is a
collaborative virtual museum which is neither part of, nor
officially sanctioned by MoMA, yet it is dedicated to
displaying works from this seminal art institution. Given
that MoMA already presents its collection online, this
paper critically examines how TMP differentiates itself,
and considers its relevance for museums. This alternative
site is an inclusive social space which focuses on viewers’
interactions with and impressions of works in MoMA’s
permanent collection. Museum works are presented from an
audience-centred perspective and this facilitates different
ways of seeing and understanding art by focusing on
meanings at the level of spectatorship. The shared display
of images and associated discussion forums enable the
construction of both shared and personal meanings about the
viewing experience. Although the site’s creators make
claims for an educative function and forms of intellectual
critique that are not entirely fulfilled, TMP creates an
inclusive, accessible space for engaging with MoMA’s
collection, and plays a role in democratising practices of
looking and understanding both in and beyond the museum’s
physical spaces.

Keywords: Art Museums and Social Media, Art Museum Websites, Virtual Museum, MoMA, Museum Audience, Collaborative Viewing

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.49-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 583.558KB).

Dr. Lisa Chandler

Senior Lecturer, School of Communication, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, QLD, Australia

Dr. Lisa Chandler is a Senior Lecturer in Art and Design at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. She was also foundation director of the University Gallery. Her research interests include curatorship and museum studies, contemporary art, visual culture and new technologies and learning. She has written numerous scholarly articles and exhibition catalogue essays and in 2008 was a visiting lecturer at Kyungpook National University, South Korea. In 2009 she was awarded the Sunshine Coast Regional Council Creative Award for her contribution to creative and cultural industries in the region. In 2010 she was awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council citation for outstanding contributions to student learning.


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