Steven Litt spends a little time with the new Director of the Cleveland Museum of Art, David Franklin, as he settles into his new job at the museum after 12 years at the National Gallery of Canada:
In general, Franklin’s perspective on the museum is that it’s something of an underdog in comparison with large museums on the East Coast that can count on steady flows of tourism and attention from the global art press.
“I like the underdog position,” he says. “We can use our outsider status in the art world to do creative and provocative things.”
Yet in reaching for attention and a larger public, Franklin said he will not follow the example of the Detroit Institute of Arts, which filled many of its galleries with large explanatory graphics and video displays aimed at luring visitors into closer contact with works of art.
In Cleveland, Franklin wants the art always to be the primary message. Video displays will not be inserted into galleries, although audio guides or recorded tours accessible via cell phones will be expanded.
“The objects have to seduce people,” he says. “It doesn’t require much knowledge. The arrangement and display of objects can tell a story.”
David Franklin Looks Ahead to Productive Years as Director of Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)