Cover image of the review
Arlo Mountford, *Murder in the Museum* (still), 2005, single channel digital animation, 4:3 aspect ratio, stereo sound, 4:27 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne.

Arlo Mountford: Deep Revolt

25 May 2019
Shepparton Art Museum 18 Apr - 10 Jun 2019

One hundred years ago, in a mood of revolutionary zeal, Kasimir Malevich proclaimed Russia the centre of political life, “the breast against which the entire power of the old-established states smashes itself”. The sentiment appeared in his polemic, 'On the Museum' (1919), a paean to the transformation of contemporary life, offset by a denouncement of the museum as a retrograde cultural institution filled with “dead baggage – the depraved cupids of the former debauched houses of Rubens and the Greeks”. Notwithstanding the summoning of an improbable mammary metaphor, an association between museums and their historically necessary annihilation was set.

In terms only marginally more restrained, the repugnantly bourgeois nature of the museum had already been professed by the 19th-century Russian Cosmism philosopher Nikolai Fedorov when he wrote, “The only thing higher than the old tatters preserved in museums is the very dust itself, the very remains of the dead; just as the only thing that would be higher than a museum would be a grave…”

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