Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Torture Museum – I know it´s Halloween but…

This Facebook post on a friends page caught my attention because of its horrific images.

The article announces the new museum of Imperial Torture in Jiangsu – China. The website does not seem very reliable but this made me think about other museums where such subjects are depicted in a way that shocks its visitors. Off course this depends on the sensibility of the guests but these images are quite strong.  Moreover, the author of the post accuses the Chinese government of using the museum to spread fear on its citizens which I think it is excessive and false. But who knows? It wouldn’t be the first time that art is being used for political propaganda. The fact is that this museum exists and, no matter what, these replications of torture scenes are too explicit and can be considered inappropriate for a museum.

Where do you draw the line? Are  you keeping your audiences away by having these kind of themes? Are you encouraging violence in some?

I am sure this question is strongly connected with cultural issues but I have heard some people saying they would not visit the Holocaust Museum here in DC because it´s not a “nice” experience.

I actually felt a bit nauseous after visiting this museum but I enjoyed it anyways. Unfortunately, I cant say the same about a bone chapel I visited when I was young in Portugal. At the entrance of this monument there is this iconic saying: “This bones are just waiting for yours”. Creepy right?

I don´t think you learn much just by being confronted with these kind of images. If the right context is provided then you don´t have to rely so much on the visual representations. What do you all think? Does this shock you as well? Have you had similar experiences?


The bones chapel in Évora, Portugal. cc Nsandre



This entry was posted on October 29, 2014 by .
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