Monday, August 11, 2008

SF MOMA Responds - Sort of - to the Thomas Hawk Affair (costarring Simon Blint as the Jerk Formerly Known as the...)

If you missed the weekend's tempest in a teapot, see Thomas Hawk's two posts here and here, and Steven Hodson's reality check here.

In brief, Thomas Hawk, who had previously praised SF MoMA's relaxation of its prohibition of photography within its premises, was thrown out of SF MoMA for taking photographs within its premises.

If you saw my FriendFeed comments over the weekend, one thing that I noted several times was that I'd like to hear what Simon Blint or SF MoMA themselves had to say about the incident. For example:

I'm waiting to hear S.B.'s view, but I suspect that we'll instead get a well-crafted statement from SF MOMA that says nothing. I hope I'm wrong.

On Monday morning, I checked the SF MOMA blog, and there was no post addressing the topic. But that didn't stop people from commenting to an unrelated August 6 post. For example, someone named John said:

I will not be frequenting your museum again until I find out Mr Simon Blint has been fired.

But he was restrained in comparison to Haywood Jablaume, who suggested that Blint be spoken to "in small, monosyllabic words."

Suzanne from SF MoMA then responded:

Suzanne Says:

Hi, this is Suzanne, I run the SFMOMA blog, and I’d like to say, to those of you posting comments here off-topic: I don’t know the scope of the complaints in either direction between Mr. Hawk and SFMOMA staff, so I can’t weigh in on what happened between the two parties. I like to keep the comment stream open and uncensored, but that shouldn’t mean any grievance, legitimate or not, should be aired here. Please keep your comments on-topic, and thanks so much! Yours, SS

August 10th, 2008 at 4:01 pm

That's the last word that I've seen from SF MoMA. There's nothing in their press room either.

However, if Suzanne does not provide a forum on the SF MoMA blog to discuss the situation, then the conversation will continue to fragment, and the situation will be discussed within the little circle of FriendFeeders, bloggers, and others that are discussing it right now.

And the coverage is seeping out of the insular blog community. Google News currently lists four items when you perform a "moma hawk" keyword search, including an Inquisitr post that has already generated a good deal of discussion on FriendFeed, and, most recently, this Jack Schofield item from the Guardian blog. Here's Schofield's conclusion:

SF-MoMA is [probably] just starting to wake up (on a Monday morning) to the problem it now faces -- not just the threat to its image, but ultimately the threat to its finances. It will be interesting to see how it tries to handle it.

And for those who state that Thomas Hawk has not suffered as much as other're right. See what Thomas Hawk said about Carlos Miller back on February 27, 2007. Or what Carlos Miller said about Scott Conover.

And for those that believe that money talks, here are the organizations who support SF MOMA:

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is supported by a broad array of contributors who are committed to helping advance its mission as a dynamic center for modern and contemporary art. Major annual support is provided by the Koret Foundation Funds, Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.

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