“a painting is never finished… it must continue to do its work long after it has been hung on the gallery wall… a picture relies on us to complete it.”

This is why… free access to museums is essential. Our culture depends on it, but also the art depends on it. Now that this age-old communication was not possible, how can those paintings in the museum, hanging in the dark, function? The question presented itself with the nuts and bolts of a practical problem.

When the art in the museum is inaccessible, what happens to it and what happens to us? Have we not observed how a picture can suddenly become significant to our culture while another, equally good, perhaps even better, recedes from our attention?

And does this not prove that art is in constant dialogue with history?


Hisham Matar, author