art galleries and art museums

In Britain, works of art are displayed in art galleries and, especially outside London, in museums. Shops that sell paintings are also called galleries. In the US public art collections are displayed in art museums, and a gallery is a place where people go to buy works of art.
  Many galleries and museums in Britain and the US receive limited financial support from national or local government. Other money is raised through admission fees, although admission to many British museums is free, and the sale of postcards, calendars, etc. Some galleries obtain money through sponsorship. Works of art are often expensive and galleries can rarely buy them without organizing a public appeal or, in Britain, asking for money from the National Art Collections Fund.
  Visiting an art gallery is a popular leisure activity. Galleries and museums are friendlier places than they used to be. Many try to encourage children’s interest in art by arranging school visits and many people make their first trip to an art museum with their school class.
  The most popular galleries in Britain, all in London, are the National Gallery, which receives over 4 million visitors a year, the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition of paintings sent in by the general public also receives a lot of visitors. Sculpture attracts less attention, and though the names of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth are known to many people, few could describe any of their works. Well-known galleries outside London include the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
  Important art museums in the US include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum, all in New York, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Most US cities and many smaller towns have art museums.
  Galleries sometimes mount exhibitions of the paintings of one artist, e.g. Turner, that are brought together from all over the world. People are prepared to queue for a long time to see them. Many people admire old masters, famous works by great artists, but have little interest in modern art. New works receive publicity in the media only when they are unusual or likely to shock people. Galleries and museums try to encourage a more positive attitude to modern art but many people remain doubtful. When the Tate displayed half a cow and its calf rotting in formaldehyde (= a chemical used to preserve it), the public criticized the artist, Damien Hirst. Likewise, when the Turner Prize was won by an artist who built a house of cement, the public were angered that such a basic piece could receive the award. Unlike other art forms which require very little of the viewer, modern art requires that viewers give something of themselves to the work and try to find out what the piece means. Modern artists would claim that each piece represents a different emotion to each person, and that this active participation is at the core of modern art.

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Universalium. 2010.

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