The Museum of museums in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood may have dodged some long-term bad press after it canceled a tone-deaf exhibit that allegedly played on the area’s ongoing tech rivalry.
MoM pitched their idea for an art exhibit that featured the works of Amazon and Microsoft employees and billed the event as “Amazon vs Microsoft.”
Despite the ostentatious title, MoM unearthed a more thoughtful reason for curating their exhibit via an Instagram post,
“Together, Amazon and Microsoft employ more than 1.5 million people. Alongside the extreme wealth that often defines these two societies, we believe there is an alternative and equally impressive wealth of artistic talent within their ranks. As an exhibition, Amazon vs Microsoft aims to highlight and celebrate artists working in big tech and recalibrate the narrative around what a tech worker is.
Unfortunately, for MoM, his own reasoning rang hollow with many online and within the art community, as the idea was downright mocked and ridiculed for its tone-deaf nature with comments such as “a massive flop idea , yuck! Imagine being an art museum in 2022 capable of uplifting anyone and we choose… tech workers???
Other online responses to Instagram’s announcement spoke of how gentrification, income disparity and job-fueled privilege from companies such as Amazon and Microsoft have led to the erosion of artistic community.
In response, MoM canceled their event just three days after the announcement and released the following retraction and explanation.
“I believe that the strongest artistic ecosystem is also the most inclusive. Tech bros included. Poor people, rich people, people with common ideals and people with strange ideas. Everybody.
Seattle is getting more expensive by the day and a healthy arts ecosystem in this city requires financial support and lots of it. So yes, I tried, once again, to connect the disconnected, to try to strengthen our arts economy in the only way I know how.
While not quite the soul-searching introspective response the art community may have had in mind, it follows the scuttling of the ill-born exhibit and saves the fledgling museum at 900 Boylston Ave with a bang. potentially irremediable reputation.