Museum Istanbul Contemporary Art


Sisters (Museums) are doin' it for Themselves

Genco Gülan, May 2020

Personally, I do not have a sister. Just two brothers; Guclu and Gorkem. My parents wanted to have one but it didn't have worked out. (Well, till today I mean….) Growing up with two brothers and having no sisters, added additional prejudices for me I have to admit! But isn't Iife all about fighting with them? Well, not with your sisters but with your biases?

Anyway, the title of this text comes from the the lyric of a famous song; ‘Sisters are doin it for Themselves’ (1985) by Eurythmics. (1) It's a dynamic, motivating pop song and I remembered it when I was searching to write for Davis Lisboa's solo exhibition 'Sister Museum’. The term ‘sister museum’ is ralted with the notion of twinnin and has a similar meaning like the ‘sister cities’, a city that is twinned with another.

Does museum have gender? Are they female? Why not? In Turkish we do not have gender markers. We do not seperate people or things according to gender. But at the same time, our motherland (unllike the fatherland in German) is called Anatolia, mean; full of mothers. It is not a coincidence that Kybele and Virgin Mary are both from my hometown. Again, the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonder of the World, the origin of all the museums is also located in the same city; Ephesus of the Western Anatolia. Thus, there is no need to wonder why museums or muses are sisters.

As a matter of fact, Davis Lisboa himself, is good old virtual friend. An Internet phenomenon. We never met in person but we know each other for a long time. He is originally from Brasil and lives and works in Barcelona, not in Lisbon. His family has roots in Portugal. He is a trained painter who executes interesting experiments in museum studied. Davis Lisboa is one of the few artists who brings modernist Dada, Fluxus and Institutional Critique tradition to our contemporary times, following the footsteps of Marcel Duchamp, Robert Filliou and Marcel Broodthaers. He created his own museum as an artwork. According to Davis Lisboa; "A museum is an activity, not a building." (2)



The Memes section from the Davis Museum:
Davis Lisboa, ''Technology is changing how
we see art !'', 2017,
digital image 600 x 499px

Davis Lisboa and his museum Davis Museum is very active online especially in social media. He creates participatory projects with artists and the audiance and shares his experiences on Instagram or Facebook. Personally, I see many similarities between the experiments of the Davis Museum (3) and the Istanbul Contemporary Art museum. We are not similar like a double wrapped egg but we are both artist run, experimental, online museums and brave enough to be called Sister Museum’s. Referring to the title of this text: “Sisters are doin' it for Themselves”, I have altered the lyrics of the song to make my own point clear:

"Now there was a time when they used to say
That behind every - museum.
There had to be a - great sponsor.
But in these times of change you know
That it's no longer true.
So we're comin' out of the studios
'Cause there's somethin' we forgot to say to you (we say)
Sister Museum’s are doin' it for themselves.
(Museums are) Standin' on their own two feet.
And (artists are) ringin' on their own bells.
Sister Museum’s are doin' it for themselves.

Now this is a song to celebrate
The conscious liberation of the Artist State!"

To conclude I may say that; “In our contemporary world, art is all about information. And a museum is just a container.”  Yes, it does have functions to 'preserve but more importantly to present' information. After they got uneathed, king's tomb have no relations with mummies. Thus, in the age of information there is no such thing as owning an art collection or museum. It is not about property or control but all about collaborating, sharing and spreading.

In this context, Davis Museum of Davis Lisboa is very important because it is searching for a way to combine art with museum. It is not afriad to combine humor and technology to connect with the audiance. And it shows ud that, a museum is not a building but a state of mind. Thus, there is no such thing as closing down a museum because of pandemic or anyting else. It is all about, keep on, sharing ideas...




Notes: ----------------------------------
1) Eurythmics - Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves (2009)

2) ‘The Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect’ at MoMA that took place in 1999.


I am proud to note here that I have the chance to met some of the artists personally.


And also Davis Museum youtube channel:


Gallery 1 - Galley 2 - Video - English - Portuguese - Espagnol