August 26, 2011
Since it was opened on June 23, 2006, the Quai Branly Museum in Paris has been laden with controversy amongst its local both its national and international visitors.
Although unlike many entities bound in controversy become dogged with criticism and experience a rapid demise, the Musee Quai Branly’s controversy has aided its success and phenomenal popularity.
Controversy often sparks intrigue, especially within the world of art. Much of the Quai Branly Museum’s contents are items plundered from France’s colonial conquest, which many believe, should be returned to their country of origin.
The ‘artistic -ness’ of the museum’s contents and displays are also put in question, with even the Branly’s curators referring to the artefacts and displays as “objects” to convey that the pieces were not necessarily intended as pieces of art but rather for utilitarian and sacred uses, such as the Branly’s headdresses from Alaska, statues from Nigeria, its Djennenke statue from the 10th or 11th century pre-Drogon Mali era, and its Indian ornamental wear.
Although it is not just the Musee Quai Branly’s contents that have been doused in criticism, as the curators have been criticised for placing a too heavy dependence on ‘aesthetic appeal’, namely being committed to extreme lighting rather than accurate descriptions of its content.