The Smithsonian Institute has acquired – for most of the wrong reasons – the gown worn by opera diva Renee Fleming when she played the Super Bowl last year (you can watch her performance here).
So what have we here?
An object of artistic veneration? A significant piece of Americana? A religious relic? None of the above.
The official reason given by the Smithsonian: Museum curators love it when an object can tell a significant story. When an object can speak to many different stories, it’s a curatorial jackpot.
The real reason: They’re besotted with celebrity, regardless of content.
Read the curator’s justification here.
Surely it would have been more credible to present this gown alongside one of Renee’s more vivid opera costumes or concert gowns – just to show what she does in real life.