The Washington Post

Art in focus: ‘Public Property’ puts the people in the curator’s seat

View Photo Gallery: In the latest exhibition at the Walters Art Museum,the public voted on what pictures to display

Crowd-sourced culture is becoming increasingly common, as the phenomenon moves from such reality TV-style contests as “American Idol” to more highbrow forms. Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum is in the vanguard with “Public Property,” an exhibition featuring paintings and works on paper that were selected by public vote, rather than by a curator.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the art on the wall is not the most interesting thing about the show, which raises more intriguing questions about taste and the notion of authority. On Saturday, the museum will embrace the show’s inherent contradictions with a free, game-show themed opening party. Read my review of “Public Property,” and check out a selection of images from the show in the gallery at the top of this post.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Michael O’Sullivan has worked since 1993 at The Washington Post, where he covers art, film and other forms of popular — and unpopular — culture.
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