Conflict Over Technology and Art Leads to Cancellation of the Microsoft vs Amazon Exhibition in Seattle
The ‘Amazon vs. Microsoft’ display at a Seattle museum was canceled due to community outcry regarding the conflict between technology and the arts.
Because of criticism from Seattle’s artistic community and online commenters, organizers have scrapped plans for an exhibition including the work of Amazon and Microsoft workers.
The Museum of Museums (MoM) in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood asked for contributions a few days ago for an upcoming exhibition titled “Amazon vs. Microsoft.” To promote the event, a picture was posted to Instagram that depicted Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft) and Jeff Bezos (co-founder of Amazon) trading blows while wearing boxing gloves.
Microsoft and Amazon employ nearly 1.5 million people, as stated in their Instagram posts. The two corporations have alternate and equally astonishing riches of creative skill to go along with the extraordinary wealth that has come to characterize them. Amazon versus. Microsoft is an exhibition that aims to “recalibrate the narrative surrounding what a tech worker is by showcasing the artists working in big tech.”
According to the museum, anybody working for either of the two computing giants anywhere in the globe was eligible to submit an item for display. The applications’ deadline was August 7, and the opening reception was scheduled for October 7.
However, the idea was met with immediate and negative backlash from Seattle residents, who seemed to be tapping into the widespread belief that the city’s art scene has been faltering in recent years due to the rise of big giants like Amazon and Microsoft.
On Monday, MoM director Greg Lundgren announced through Instagram that the museum had heard its patrons and would no longer be accepting proposals for the “Amazon vs. Microsoft” exhibit.
“A healthy environment for the arts is one that welcomes all types of participants”, Lundgren stated. “There are those with unusual views and those with common values as well as those who are poor and those with both. A vibrant cultural ecology in this city demands financial support, and plenty of it,” he said implying that Seattle is growing more costly by the day.
Lundgren said that he had received “loud and unambiguous” feedback that the show was not the appropriate venue for discussing “art, wealth, and the future cultural environment of our city” or that “giant tech should not be considered as the insurers of our long-term health and vitality.”
About the Museum of Museums in Seattle
The Museum of Museums was established in 2020 at a former medical facility on 900 Boylston Ave. There are permanent and temporary exhibition halls, theatrical performances, art lessons every week, temporary exhibitions, and a gift store.
The museum’s website states that it seeks “to enhance the artist community of Seattle and stimulate our local arts ecosystem via exhibition, education, and discourse about the responsibilities of the artist, benefactor, and collector.”
Microsoft and Amazon are not alone among IT giants in their predilection for decorating their offices with works of art. Since its inception in 1987, Microsoft has amassed a sizable art collection, which is now overseen by a group of fine art specialists.
Amazon’s “Artist in Residence” program promotes regional and up-and-coming artists and serves as a public service to the arts community. As the residency’s slogan states, artists are given the time and space to “dream large, inspire, and develop ambitious ideas”.
Photo: “Good and Evil Unicorns Battle For the Space Needle” by zoomar is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0