Mall of America sales per square ft. = $600
MOMA store sales per square ft. = $1750
The Met has 39 free-standing stores worldwide
producing 87.4 million in revenue
Why do we visit museums and galleries, and more importantly, why do we buy when we are there? Is there a sense of acquiring mementos as documentation of our experience and thereby evoking a sense of value to our visit, or do we experience culture through shopping and the societal influence of purchasing? Viewed in isolation, the typology of museums, in fact, offers an opportunity to see objects that by the very virtue of their state are otherwise considered inaccessible to the general public. It is through this very process that the value of the objects acquired is inherently addressed. These objects are accumulated through the acquisition process and anticipated by the very filling-up and filing-out of consumers.
Museums and galleries, in their purest forms, then, can also (and perhaps more importantly) be regarded as storage vessels. The process allows for an acquisition to be made and shown and then stored and then shown again, and then stored again. What would happen if the way in which we viewed a “collection” were completely changed? What if the very act of purchasing preceded the act of the gallery/museum experience or was, essentially, the experience? Is it fair to say then that in this scenario, the collection is seen only through the experience of shopping and that we can add value to these discarded objects of the Manchester Letherium by the mere act of our purchase and venue?
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