We at the Myles Junior Think Tank (MJTT) are always on the lookout for significant, socially responsible problems on which we can exercise our not-inconsiderable intellects.
The contemporary art museum as we know it is an antiquated institution that is, among other faults, hard on the feet.
MJTT has devoted considerable thought to righting that wrong by envisioning a new form of art museum.
In the neo-modern museum, the pictures are all spaced the same distance apart, regardless of their size and aesthetic appeal. Ten feet distant from the wall runs a small solar-powered railroad track. On the track is placed a continuous set of chairs facing the walls at intervals of fifteen feet. The chairs are of course for the use of the patrons. This train of chairs will not move continuously but will start and stop every fifteen feet, for exactly one minute. Thus the patrons will be allowed to see each exhibit once, after which they will be swiftly moved to the next, so that no exhibit goes unseen by any art lover. Opera glasses are provided to each patron for a small rental fee for the purpose of reading the fine print on the wall explaining each exhibit. Alternatively: the patron may purchase a brochure with the same information. Or that patron may rent an earphones/recorder combo providing an aural explanation of each exhibit; this will save him/her the trouble of reading. The combo may be rented in four colors (mauve, forest green, gunpowder gray, forest-fire orange) and listened to in any of the six standard voices: soprano, mezzo, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, all recited by a singer who has performed a leading role at the Met a minimum of three times.
The chairs are equipped with a small foldout table for the use of those who have purchased foodstuffs from the museum cafeteria. Indeed, the cafeteria is to be the first stop on the line. Those who prefer not to eat while engaged in art-loving may rent a small TV set providing a full panoply of channels in order to dispose of the time others will be spending in the cafeteria. The set may also be retained, at a modest extra cost, for possible use within the museum proper. This is for the convenience of those whose tastes are repelled, for example, by the Late Impressionists or who are incapable of understanding why a large spray-painted canvas or a men’s urinal, however tastefully wrought, would be considered as art.
What about the problem of restrooms? Though the time it takes for the train to traverse the entire museum will be 75 minutes at the most, the MJTT takes into account the sudden urges to which a substantial majority of flesh is heir. Thus each chair comes equipped with a button that, when depressed, allows the chair and the patron it bears to leave the train and descend into a basement, which is occupied by a variety of restrooms, each of which is festooned with the early works of an up-and-coming artist. There are stalls at the door of each restroom. For a small fee, the patron may convey his/her chair to that stall. And of course the chair is also equipped with a button that, when again depressed, returns the patron to his/her proper position on the train. (The technical details of this arrangement are being outsourced to a group of brilliant but unemployed mechanical engineers.)
At the end of the line stands the art bookstore. It is here that the museum realizes a healthy cash flow. Each of the abovementioned chairs is equipped with a small computer that allows the individual patron to select from a menu of books he/she wishes to purchase; the decisions re purchases are to be made during the pilgrimage through the museum proper. The problem of overstocked books is obviated by the use of the print-on-demand technology, which allows the book to be printed immediately after the avid patron has placed an order.
The neo-modern museum is the answer to the prayers not only of the soft-footed, but of those who have learned to live and thrive in contemporary times while maintaining their taste for the exquisite arts.