Tasting the museum: how the cultural practices of eating out and viewing art converge in Istanbul's museum restaurants
Kubiena, Michael (2011) Tasting the museum: how the cultural practices of eating out and viewing art converge in Istanbul's museum restaurants. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1379300 (Table of Contents)
Today's museums, with few exceptions, include cafés and restaurants, which, together with additional ancillary spaces such as design shops, film and performance venues comprise the museum experience. Istanbul's private art museums are closely following this seemingly normative trend. In doing so they attempt to meet their mission statements' claims of social inclusion and audience development. This thesis investigates and problematizes the convergence of two cultural practices that meet in the museum restaurant, namely eating out and viewing art, their conceptual similarities and intersections and their convergence in the museum restaurants of Istanbul's private art museums. A discussion of heterogeneous concepts of consumption, which traces the tensions between group norms and individual agency, of the emergence and incorporation of consumption practices of subcultures provides the basis for an in-depth investigation of eating out and viewing art. But the symbolic economy, the main actors of which are institutions backed by private capital and entrepreneurs in the cultural field, significantly and irreversibly alters the urban fabric. At the same time, processes of urban transformation often remain unquestioned and are presented and celebrated by their beneficiaries, by politicians, media or the complicit art world as the means of resolving a multiplicity of problems of a metropolis such as Istanbul. Istanbul's art museums and their restaurants appeal primarily to those who already have the "right" disposition to appreciate and confidently navigate the intricacies of the culinary and the artistic field. The translation of the private tastes of museum patrons and restaurant owners into specific culinary, curatorial, architectural and atmospheric elements often results in rituals, experiences and spaces, which, while seemingly being available to everybody, construct symbolic and material boundaries for those without said necessary dispositions.
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