Unsettling Museum Spaces?

International Workshop

organized by the Max Planck Research Group "Objects in the Contact Zone - The Cross-Cultural Lives of Things"

Even decades into the vogue of new museology, the very notion of the art museum, particularly in its canonized and canonizing Western manifestation, often still presents us with an illusion of stability, a literally fixed 'visitor's itinerary' or point of departure. This impression of stability refers to cultural narrative and very concrete location, often seemingly resistant to practical and conceptual changes. Calling this stability into question, our workshop invites debate on alternating historiographical approaches and contemporary curatorial practices. This includes changing perceptions of the art museum across periods of time and regions, also shedding light on interactions between museums, spaces, audiences and society in a cross-cultural perspective. This agency-related gaze towards the museum within the so-called 'global art world' seeks to upset the stable notion of the institution. Critically questioning the relationship between historical narratives and the dynamics of contemporary aesthetics both within and beyond the confines of the museum space, we seek to embrace the epistemological potential of the global museum world as an unsettling and unsettled place.

This workshop follows up on the international conference on "Images of the Art Museum: Connecting Gaze and Discourse in the History of Museology" (KHI Florence, Sept 2013).

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut
Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51
50122 Firenze
Elahe Helbig M.A.  


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