dumbing down?

“You don’t bring in the masses by dumbing down. The public will come to see great art.”

Michael Taylor, Curator of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2010

“Missing from The Times of 1968 was anything to do with the home or emotional life. There is nothing about marriage, divorce, children, schools, au pairs, depression, drinking, health, drugs, teenagers, affairs, fashion, sex, successful relationships, failing relationships, interior decor, cancer, infertility, faith, grandparents – or any of the other things that make up the texture of our non-working lives.”

Alan Rushbridger, Editor of the Guardian newspaper, 2000


Let’s use a sports analogy.

Here’s Dallas Stars‘ centre Tyler Seguin scoring a goal with a rubber duck:




Let’s compare Tyler Seguin playing hockey to a blockbuster exhibition, because:

Does a film of him shooting with a rubber duck (and a donut, and at a clay target etc etc) dumb down his skills? Of course not, the man’s a bloody genius with a stick and a bath toy.

But as yet, there are no plans for the National Hockey League to replace regulation pucks with rubber ducks. When the fans turn up to the stadium, they see the same game in principle as they did in 1917 when the league began.

There are humorous, celebrity, spectacular and even dumb hooks that make you interested to visit the blockbuster, they shouldn’t be the only or the most important content once you are there. But worthy and significant content needs those light-touch hooks or it all gets a bit boring.


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