A Night at the Museum

When a big exhibition comes around, a museum likes to throw on a big party to celebrate it. Such was the case this past weekend at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts as it marked the opening of “The Louvre and the Masterpiece.”

Now I don’t often make opening parties – by that time I’ve usually gone to a press preview of the show, have reported on the exhibition, and am ready to move on to the next story. But I know that many people have their notions about museums and galleries, and the kind of people who show up to their events. “Too snooty for me” some friends say, or “boring!” So, armed with a Flipcam, I decided to attend Saturday’s opening and bring back tangible proof of what one of these events is like. Maybe I’d do some myth-busting, or maybe I’d simply confirm those preconceptions.

I have to say, when I first walked into the MIA Saturday night, I was surprised. There was a bass beat booming that was audible from the coatcheck, and the regular museum lights had been replaced with violet flourescents that made the main halls feel more like a downtown club than an encyclopedic museum. There were drink stations EVERYWHERE, as well as dancers clad in 18th century French frocks performing on little stages. People were kicking back in comfy furniture next to centuries old roman sculpture, and watching light shows around the fountain.

The people-watching was worth the price of admission, in my opinion. Just seeing how folks dressed up, some with a French flair, was fun. But take a look at the clip and tell me: does this look like a fun party to you? Are you now more or less tempted to go to a museum opening? Why? Would you feel comfortable at a party like this? Entertained? Bored? And how does it compare to the image you had in your head? If this isn’t your cup of tea, what kind of art party would you rather attend?

My little revelation of the evening: museums don’t serve red wine. It’s just trouble waiting to happen.