Rethinking the Museum and Other Meditations

Overview

In these 19 insightful and frequently witty meditations, Stephen E. Weil examines the purposes and functions of the museum in the late 20th century, proposing museums make encounters with a variety of visitors more central to their operation.

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Overview

In these 19 insightful and frequently witty meditations, Stephen E. Weil examines the purposes and functions of the museum in the late 20th century, proposing museums make encounters with a variety of visitors more central to their operation.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In nineteen essays (some previously published) written between 1983 and 1989, Weil (deputy director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution) examines the purposes and functions of the museum in the late 20th century. He explores how museums can better serve both the larger society and the professional aspirations of their workers, and also addresses a variety of management issues. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
Clearly and engagingly written, even eloquent at times. The author is deeply concerned about the social and cultural significance of museums to the communities in which they are located, and weighs that mission against the narrower consideration of hyper-professionalism. (New York History)

These essays are urbane and timely. They represent a facet of the art world situated somewhere between the cauldron of creation and the distant reserves of aesthetic theorizing. Aestheticians often speak of institutions and their reification of art. Here is an opportunity to consider how that process is accomplished. (Aesthetics And Art Criticism)

Having successfully woven philosophy, the law and the issues and realities facing museums into a stylish mantle, Weil has presented us with a valuable and enjoyable addition to museological writing. (Muse)

Optimistic, idealistic, visionary, energizing, invigorating: These words only begin to describe a book that may change forever your understanding of museums and their potential. . . . Weil's dedication and conviction are contagious, his rhetoric persuasive. Rethinking the Museum is a compelling call to reexamine the purposes and potential of those 'constantly evolving social artifacts' we call museums. (Museum News)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874749489
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1990
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Weil was Deputy Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. He served as Adminstrator of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City (1967-1974) and is a member of the New York bar. He was coauthor of the award-winning treatise Art Law and author of the widely acclaimed Beauty and the Beasts (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983).

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Table of Contents

Part 1 I. Rethinking the Museum Chapter 2 1. Enough Museums? (1983) Chapter 3 2. Fighting Off Some Dry Rot, Woodworm, and Damp (1985) Chapter 4 3. A Meditation on Small and Large Museums (1987) Chapter 5 4. The Proper Business of the Museum: Ideas or Things? (1988) Chapter 6 5. Rethinking the Museum: An Emerging New Paradigm (1990) Part 7 II. Museum Management: Workers, Collections, and Other Concerns Chapter 8 6. The Well-Managed Museum (1989) Chapter 9 7. In Pursuit of a Profession: The Status of Museum Work in America (1987) Chapter 10 8. Coleman's Vision of the Museum Worker: Is it Still Valid Today? (1989) Chapter 11 9. The More Effective Director: Specialist or Generalist? (1987) Chapter 12 10. Deaccession Practices in American Museums (1986) Chapter 13 11. Deaccessioning Modern and Contemporary Art: Some Notes on the American Experience (1989) Chapter 14 12. Too Much Art? (1989) Chapter 15 13. The Museum Management Institute: Its Genesis and Early Years (1985) Chapter 16 14. Review: The Arts and Public Policy in the United States (1985) Part 17 III. Repose and Other Brief Legal Notes Chapter 18 15. Repose (1987) (Afterword: Guggenheim Extract from the 1989 Litigation Update) Chapter 19 16. Who Owns the Nataraja? (1989) Chapter 20 17. Legal Aspects of the Display of Imitations (1985) Chapter 21 18. A Meditation on Work (1985) Chapter 22 19. Art, Law, and Utopia (1983)

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