Not so long ago, art museums were viewed as a domain of learning, privilege and exclusion. But several things have happened during the past few decades that have changed all that.
The ascendancy of contemporary art and design has been a factor, as has the need to remain relevant to audiences, especially the young for whom new technology is part and parcel of the experience. Then there's increased commercial pressures on publicly funded institutions to pay their way.
And last but not least, is the burgeoning of cultural tourism and what's been called the "Bilbao effect", after the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim satellite that transformed an obscure Spanish town into a tourist destination.
According to Gay McDonald, a senior lecturer at UNSW Art & Design, museums are reflecting the demands of new audiences: "The gallery is viewed as a civic space and art is just one of the components within it," McDonald says.
In Australia, the hugely popular Museum of New and Old Art (MONA) in Tasmania, the product of gambling millionaire David Walsh's singular vision, is widely praised as creating a new template for the way art is viewed. Walsh has referred to it as "a subversive adult Disneyland".
Whether or not you're a fan of the artworks, there's no doubting that MONA has taken the cultural tourism trend by the horns. Situated on the beautiful Derwent River in Hobart, visitors can stay in high-tech, luxury pavilions, enjoy cellar door tastings at the MONA winery or boutique brewery, and attend a variety of music and cinematic events, as well as looking at the art.
Read more at BusinessThink.