Watch Ian burns speak about the gallery environment, the assumptions people make about it and how he likes to subvert those assumptions.



Burns says that there is a ‘compartmentalised nature to the way we do things’. What does he mean?

Think about the different places and spaces you go to within a week. Do you act differently in some places as to how you act in others? Think about the places where, for instance you are relaxed and comfortable compared to where you are very aware of your environment. Which list does the gallery go into? What if you took a piece of art and placed it in a different space, would it change its meaning? How?


Burns uses particular words when talking about a gallery – pristine, cathedral, expectation, outcome of experience.

Do you agree with these words describing a gallery? Can you think of others? Do you like that about a gallery or do you think it should change?


Have a look at the websites for the two museums below. They are trying to change the relationship between the viewer and the museum and make it more interactive and ‘human’. From what you can see on their websites, how are they trying to do this? Do you think its working?


Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands