“The Architecture of Reassurance”

Walker Art Center

Some thought the Walker Art Center opening its doors to Mickey Mouse was a dark day for Art. Museums, however, have been edging into pop culture for years, though, at least since the Museum of Modern Art’s “High and Low” exhibit, and more recently in efforts such as the Whitney’s show on Warhol and fashion. It turns out that the real question was not what Mickey will do to Art, but what the museum had to say about Mickey.

“The Architecture of Reassurance: Designing the Disney Theme Parks” must have presented a unique challenge in this regard. How to take apart “the method behind the magic” of what curator Karal Ann Marling describes as Disney’s consummately constructed, “systematic commercial enterprise”? Perhaps most daunting was the inevitability that viewers would, despite the show’s arch subtitle, expect more magic than method. Indeed, given Disney’s Pavlovian effect on kids, organizers

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