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Look and Learn

One collection plus three buildings equals the Yale Art Gallery.

Sep 2, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 48 • By DANIEL GELERNTER
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In the battle of the curators, Yale has an inherent advantage: The Metropolitan Museum may technically be free, but it is run as a commercial operation. Laurence Kanter curated the Met’s Robert Lehman Collection for 20 years, and there, he says, success was measured in units of 25,000 visitors. The Yale galleries are genuinely free and in a university town off the beaten track; this has produced a different kind of museum. The curator still faces certain political pressures, which show through at the edges, but the museum overall is a landmark achievement.  

Kanter recognizes that only a small number of visitors, whether at the Met or at Yale, will engage the art deeply enough to be influenced by it. At Yale, he has tried to create the best space for deeper engagement, and he has succeeded.

Daniel Gelernter is an artist and CEO of a tech startup. 

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