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Posted on Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Dave!Thursdays and Fridays the Seattle Art Museum is open until 9:00pm, so I ran down after work to see what had changed after their recent remodeling. The building itself is very nice, and the collection is eclectic and interesting. Overall, it's a nice addition to Seattle's list of attractions, and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to visit.


One of my biggest museum pet-peeves is museums that don't allow photography, and SAM is just such a museum.

I see nothing wrong with taking a snapshot of a piece you enjoy so you can remember it later on. Many other museums (a good number of which are far more important than SAM) agree, and are happy to allow photography so long as you turn your flash off. It's just a courtesy to visitors, and nothing more. It's not like viewing a photo could ever replace the experience of standing in front of the actual painting, drawing, sculpture, or other work... so what's the harm?

As loathsome as anti-photography museums are, they can redeem themselves in my eyes if they sell prints, postcards, and books which contain images of all their works. If I can't take a photo of something I want to remember, being able to take home a postcard is the next best thing, and I'm happy with that. So after coming upon a beautiful Takashi Murakami "Flower Ball" painting, I rushed to the gift shop expecting to find something I could buy with the work printed on it. But they didn't have anything. Not one f#@%ing thing. It didn't even appear in their catalog OR their web site.

This made me so mad that I felt like walking back to the ticket desk and asking for my $30 donation back.

But instead I returned to my hotel room and drew me a DaveToon homage to Murakami-san, whose work I absolutely love (for rather obvious reasons!)...

Murakami Dave!

Helpful hint to the Seattle Art Museum: If you aren't going to allow people to take photo mementos of their visit, at least offer a way for them to buy a reproduction of your permanent collection in some form... like a postcard or something. This will keep people from getting pissed off at your visitor-hostile policies, and maybe give people even more reason to visit your beautiful museum when they are in town.

And now I'm off to bed, where I remain hopeful that I can actually manage to get some good sleep tonight.

This insomnia crap is getting really old.

Categories: Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. Stephanie P says:

    Dave, your positive attitude only makes you more attractive. I hope you get to sleep soon!

  2. Iron Fist says:

    Another hint to the Seattle Art Museum: it’s a shame that you aren’t carrying any Blogography prints. I mean, just look at the picture on this post. Genius!

  3. Wayne Hall says:

    When I look at the picture, I start doing theme music in my head…

    Suuunnnnnnneeeee day! Sweeping the…. clooouuuuuuds uh-wayyyyyyyy!
    Awwwwwwhhhhn my wayyy, towherethe air is sweet!

    Can you tell me how to get
    How to get a F@#$%ing reproduction of some of your museum’s work so I don’t have to go to the work to try to make my own and maybe I could enjoy this more than the few minutes I stay at your stupid museum!?!?!?!?!?

  4. RW says:

    Though not a big fan of Murakami, I can’t imagine why Flowerball doesn’t have even a postcard! But in any case, I don’t see the sense of not being allowed to take pictures either… I would think it would just be like free advertising – because the people who would dig a photo are usually the types to feel the same as you about seeing it in person.

    Deserves a head-scratch for sure.

  5. Avitable says:

    My wife took pictures of David even though it was strictly prohibited.

  6. kilax says:

    Were you able to find it anywhere on the net?

    I too, have a large collection of postcards and exhibit books from the museums that would not allow me to take pictues. But I never even look at those after I get home. If I could take a picture I could see it on my computer every day 🙂

  7. sizzle says:

    that reminds me, i need to get down there and check out the new SAM. thanks for the tip.

  8. Hilly says:

    Your picture is great! I want one of those Flower Balls to hang outside above my patio so I can be all happy and sunny every time I go outside :).

  9. delmer says:

    I was so taken with the picture of Little Dave and Bad Monkey in the flowers that I had to take a photo of my monitor.

    I hope you don’t mind.

  10. jodi says:

    those flowers sorta remind me of my tokidoki bag.

  11. CiCi says:

    Well – how did the god emperor did work out? I can only imagine what the cleaning staff thought when they saw it.

  12. Suzanne says:

    I, too, loved the Flowerball painting, though I didn’t check for any postcards.

    Did you see the Australian aboriginal art exhibit? It was pretty amazing how modern the use of color and abstract form was in a painting tradition hundreds of years old.

    The renovated SAM is pretty cool, but the Henry Art Gallery at UW is still my favorite, I think.

  13. ChillyWilly says:

    A shame that all museums don’t allow some personal photography… I know that some art work will forbade taking photos, but all of them?

    My last visit to MoMA in New York lets you take pictures w/o flash. It was very cool to have some of those memories of what I saw and what I liked.

  14. Nancycle says:

    I don’t know why, but when I read you can’t get sleep, *I* get frustrated.

  15. Mad William says:

    Re: No photographs in Museums.

    Not only is it a courtesy to the other guests, the most important thing to know is that a camera flash is one of the most damaging things for art. Especially art that is sometimes thousands of years old. The UV light from a camera is much more intense than people realize. It can cause oil paintings to crack and change colors. It can cause marble sculptures to disintegrate. Most people think, “Oh it’s just one photo, my taking a picture wont hurt.” They would be wrong. It will hurt. It’s not just your photo, it’s hundreds of thousands of them. It’s the reason the Mona Lisa is behind three feet of glass. It’s the reason the Venus de Milo is going to split in two within our life time.
    You can alway buy a post card of your favorite work, or the museum catalog.

    This has been a public service announcement from Mad William, Thank you.

  16. Dave2 says:

    Oh yes… absolutely no flash. I was careful to mention that… ALL museums which allow photography ask to have your flash turned off.

  17. Dan says:

    They remodeled? Hmm. Maybe it would be worth going back again, but given that the three times I was there I was bored by the same old exhibits each time, maybe I won’t.

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