The feelings of these ex-members of Miami Art Museum’s board are probably as intense as those football fans of Newcastle United who are outraged by the fact that their sporting home is now no longer known as "St James' Park". It is instead "the Sports Direct Arena". This catchy moniker matches the name of the business owned by the club's chairman, Mike Ashley. There are many such examples, from Amex Stadium to KitKat Crescent.(2)
But should our museums be co-opted by the egos of rich individuals and the machinations of global brands? Where might all this lead? Tate Starbucks? Courtauld Coca-Cola Institute of Art? Horniman "Happy Meal" Museum? Wallace-Wikipedia Collection?
Um, on second thoughts perhaps the Jorge M. Pérez Art Museum of Miami-Dade County isn't quite as radical as it at first seems. Just ask the likes of Sir Henry Tate (1819-99), Samuel Courtauld (1876-1947), Frederick John Horniman (1835-1906) and Sir Richard Wallace (1818-90). All are museumified to such an extent that their names sound dignified and, well, museal.
Who knows, the next time you visit the Duveen galleries of Tate Britain or the British Museum they might have been reborn as the Apple Ambulatory and the Google Gallery. No one remembers Sir Joseph Duveen (1869-1939) anyway...
(1) Hannah Sampson, "Developer gives $35 million naming donation to Miami Art Museum", Miami Herald, 12/02/2011, accessed 05/12/2011 at, http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/12/02/2528192/developer-gives-35-million-naming.html.
(2) David Conn, "Newcastle stadium name-change lacks class and is unworthy of history", The Guardian, 10/11/2011, accessed 05/12/2011 at, http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/nov/10/newcastle-united-st-james-renaming.