Live at the Museum

Live at the Museum
Live at the Museum was a series of films in which buskers and other artists perform without permission in front of major museums worldwide. The democracy of art and the use of public space are key components of this work.

While each work stands on its own, they are interconnected through a shared distance to global cultural agendas and a quiet beauty emanating from the covert act of street performance.

Live at the Museum is an investigation into the collective and institutional affirmation given to culture while also functioning as a digital archive to cache the contribution of its participants.

Map of performances
Live at the Museum Placeholder
Live at the Museum

About Live at the Museum

The most striking visual aspect of the series is the relationship of the lone figure of the performer against the backdrop of the often intimidating architectural template of museums, built with displaying hierarchy in mind.

These monuments of culture are a built signifier of critical endorsement. In front of them, the performers are generally filmed without an audience; their music or dance is unnoticed.

As a viewer, we become an audience of one. The performance takes place for the sole purpose of itself, unseen and unheard by others at the moment, emanating a melancholic, lonely and sometimes joyful experience.

Employing street performers as well as local videographers and assistants is an important aspect of the series. They are not one homogeneous group. Rather they differ vastly but also share similarities. In scouting the streets, performers are chosen regarding a particular talent or memorability and their relation to each venue or local communities.

An arresting example of this process is the trio of buskers performing in front of the Palazzo Reale (“King’s palace”) in Milano, Italy. All three study at the Milan Conservatory, a college of music that in the past two centuries has educated many of Italy’s most important musicians.

Stemming from Bulgarian families, commonly attributed as “gypsies”, the members of the trio often become victims of ethnic profiling. Despite their talent, the only chance they see to earn money and support their studies is to illegally perform in public spaces. They regularly have confrontations with police officers while all are simultaneously students at a very prestigious school.

Live at the Museum, installation view, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea, 2014
Live at the Museum, installation view, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea, 2014

While institutional education takes place indoors, most Italians will primarily notice them for their activities in public spaces. This process reinforces resentments and the underlying social structure.

All films have been shot without the approval or consent of the institutions involved, reminiscent of the Occupy movement. This protest first received wide coverage when starting on September 17, 2011, in New York City’s Zuccotti Park, just a block away from Wall Street.

Similarly to Live at the Museum, a prominent and symbolic place of a public sphere was reclaimed by a local group for a limited period of time. Then, Occupy became international, when just three weeks later, protests had taken place or were ongoing across 82 countries. Live at the Museum has been filmed in ten different countries on four continents.

Like Occupy, there is also a collaborative worldwide process at play. An open-source approach to the filming process ensures that the films are the product of localized collaboration as they can be shot without supervision. The series becomes a faster growing and broader proposition than works facilitated under the guise of commission or commercial facilitation.

Live at the Museum seeks to challenge the status quo and inspire new actions, innovative approaches, or even ideas for a new open institution.

We might not need more refined forms of commercialism and criticism but instead a wider open and participatory discourse about the aspects of democracy, diversification, and participation of art in a broader sense, and the responsibilities and privileges that come along with it, equally discussing microcosms and macrocosms.

– Martin Schulze

  • 2013, Münchner Stadtmuseum (solo screening), Munich (Germany), Galeria Autonomica, curated by Christian Minke and Christoph Pankowski
  • 2014, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul (Korea), curated by Martin Schulze, Jeongsun Yang
  • 2014, Guangzhou Art Center, Guangzhou (China), Critical Intent, curated by Gary Sangster and Fan Lin
  • Live at the Museum, installation view, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea, 2014
    Live at the Museum, installation view, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea, 2014


    Culture Station Seoul 284, 2013

    Performed by Hean Kim

    National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, 2013

    Performed by Haram Kim (김하람)

    Seoul Museum of Art, 2012

    Performed by Seo Yeon Rizzy Lee

    Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, 2013

    Performed by Narae Lee

    Arko Art Center, Seoul, 2013

    Performed by Eunice H. Nam

    Daelim Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul, 2013

    Performed by Woo Yeon Yoo

    National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, 2014

    Performed by Eun Hyae Cho

    Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, 2013

    Unknown performer


    National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, 2012

    Performed by Hideyuki Kawashima

    Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 2014

    Performed by Aquiles Hadjis

    Mainland China / Hong Kong

    Hong Kong Museum of Art, 2013

    Performed by Sunny Cheung

    Guangdong Art Gallery, Guangzhou, 2013

    Performed by Yuan Jing Guang (袁景光)

    Dafen Art Museum, Shenzhen, 2013

    Performed by Wei Zhang Bin (魏章斌)

    Jiangsu Art Gallery, Nanjing, 2013

    Performed by Liu Xiao Sai (刘小赛)

    Today Art Museum, Beijing, 2013

    Live at the Museum - Today Art Museum, Beijing, 2013, Hu Zhong Jun (胡忠军)

    Performed by Hu Zhong Jun (胡忠军)

    Shanghai Museum, 2013

    Live at the Museum - Shanghai Museum, 2013, Fan Liang (范亮)

    Performed by Fan Liang (范亮)


    Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, 2013

    Live at the Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, 2013, Adad, Iing, Akuruy, Saway (陈明贵, 林美玉, 曾为捷, 曾骏捷)

    Performed by Adad, Iing, Akuruy, Saway (陈明贵, 林美玉, 曾为捷, 曾骏捷)

    Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2012

    Performed by 傑利 (Jelly Lee)


    Chiang Mai University Art Museum, 2013

    Performed by Boualai Inboon

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Bangkok, 2013

    Performed by Jirathitikarn Hemsuwan

    Bangkok University Art Gallery, 2013

    Performed by Santi Tiranakul Vidal

    Bangkok Art & Culture Centre, 2013

    Performed by Karen Culture Group

    National Art Museum, Ayutthaya, 2013

    Performed by Cynthia Li

    Australia / New Zealand

    Wellington City Gallery, 2012

    Performed by Robert John McDonald

    Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, 2012

    Performed by Go Matsui

    Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, 2012

    Performed by Eloise Kirk

    USA / Canada

    Vancouver Art Gallery, 2013

    Live at the Museum - Vancouver Art Gallery, 2013

    Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 2013

    Performed by Midori Emmi Mukai

    Seattle Art Museum, 2013

    Performed by Alexander Dugdale

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2013

    Performed by Justin Wood

    Portland Art Museum, 2014

    Performed by Krystal Hardwick

    Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, 2014

    Performed by Joe Kye


    Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2014

    Performed by Christian Minke

    Cologne, Museum Ludwig, 2013

    Unknown performer

    Palazzo Reale Di Milano, 2012

    Performed by Ion Eduard – Vaduva Marian – Costantin Tanasie

    Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig, 2014


    Unknown performer

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