Thinking about Exhibitions

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Exhibitions have become the medium through which most art becomes known and assessed. But the art exhibition is an increasingly critical and unstable category. Constantly reshaped by artists and curators, the exhibition has become both a prominent and

diverse part of contemporary culture. Thinking About Exhibitions presents a multi-disciplinary anthology of writings on exhibition practice by curators, critics, artists, sociologists and historians from North America, Europe and Australia. Texts in the collection are

grouped in sections which focus on the history of the exhibition, forms of staging and spectacle, and questions of curatorship, spectatorship and narrative. As well as critical essays, the anthology includes exhibition proposals, dialogues, position papers, case studies, polemic

articles and interviews.

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Editorial Reviews

An anthology of 27 essays debating the contexts of exhibitions from traditional gallery to social protest. The contributing curators, critics, artists, and historians focus on the history of exhibition, forms of staging and spectacle, and issues of curatorship, spectatorship, and narrative. In particular, the ruminations on postmodernism's "museums without walls," and the effect of the NAMES AIDS quilt project suggest that exhibitions as such have shed their passive past and become interactive mediums with powerful cultural messages. Includes photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415115896
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Plates
Notes on Contributors
Introduction 1
1 The Museum and the 'Ahistorical' Exhibition: the latest gimmick by the arbiters of taste, or an important cultural phenomenon? 7
2 Brokering Identities: art curators and the politics of cultural representation 21
3 Large Exhibitions: a sketch of a typology 39
4 For Example, Documenta, or, How is Art History Produced? 67
5 The Exhibitionary Complex 81
6 The Museum Flat 113
7 Naming Names: the art of memory and the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt 133
8 Les Immateriaux 159
9 Exhibition Rhetorics: material speech and utter sense 175
10 Creating Spaces 191
11 The Discourse of the Museum 201
12 The Great Curatorial Dim-Out 221
13 From Museum Curator to Exhibition Auteur: inventing a singular position 231
14 Constructing the Spectacle of Culture in Museums 251
15 The Show You Love to Hate: a psychology of the mega-exhibition 269
16 Free Fall - Freeze Frame: Africa, exhibitions, artists 275
17 The One-Picture Gallery 297
18 Dissenting Spaces 307
19 Function of Architecture: notes on work in connection with the places where it is installed taken between 1967 and 1975, some of which are specially summarized here 313
20 The Gallery as a Gesture 320
21 Postmodernism's Museum without Walls 341
22 The Exhibited Redistributed: a case for reassessing space 349
23 A Visual Machine: art installation and its modern archetypes 371
24 The Institutionalization of Dissent 387
25 Modernism, Nationalism and Beyond: a critical history of exhibitions of First Nations art 411
26 In and Out of Place 437
27 What's Important About the History of Modern Art Exhibitions? 451
Select Bibliography 465
Index 475
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