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Art and the Power of Placement

Victoria Newhouse

Where and how an artwork is presented can enhance it or detract from it, or even alter its meaning. Depending on the display, painting and sculpture can denote a religious, political, decorative, or educational significance, as well as aesthetic and commercial value. Just how powerful the effect of placement can be is demonstrated in this book by in-depth case studies and comparisons of art installations around the world and from antiquity to the present, all richly illustrated.

Author Victoria Newhouse continues the investigation she began in her last book, Towards a New Museum, of the critical relationship between container and contents. Not limited to museums, Newhouse branches out to explore noteworthy displays of art in commercial galleries and in private homes and gardens, as well as in a number of unusual venues. She concludes with some guidelines for display that apply as much to the hanging of a picture in a private interior as to the installation of a museum show.
 

The Monacelli Press, 2005

Museum skepticism: a history of the display of art in public galleries

InMuseum Skepticism, art historian David Carrier traces the birth, evolution, and decline of the public art museum as an institution meant to spark democratic debate and discussion. Carrier contends that since the inception of the public art museum during the French Revolution, its development has depended on growth: on the expansion of collections, particularly to include works representing non-European cultures, and on the proliferation of art museums around the globe. Arguing that this expansionist project has peaked, he asserts that art museums must now find new ways of making high art relevant to contemporary lives. Ideas and inspiration may be found, he suggests, in mass entertainment such as popular music and movies.Carrier illuminates the public role of art museums by describing the ways they influence how art is seen: through their architecture, their collections, the narratives they offer museum visitors. He insists that an understanding of the art museum must take into account the roles of collectors, curators, and museum architects. Toward that end, he offers a series of case studies, showing how particular museums and their collections evolved. Among those who figure prominently are Baron Dominique Vivant Denon, the first director of the Louvre; Bernard Berenson, whose connoisseurship helped Isabella Stewart Gardner found her museum in Boston; Ernest Fenollosa, who assembled much of the Asian art collection now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Albert Barnes, the distinguished collector of modernist painting; and Richard Meier, architect of the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles. Carrierrs"s learned consideration of what the art museum is and has been provides the basis for understanding the radical transformation of its public role now under way.

2006

Museums and the Interpretation of Visual Culture

Eilean Hooper-Greenhill

This is a multi-disciplinary study that adopts an innovative and original approach to a highly topical question, that of meaning-making in museums, focusing its attention on pedagogy and visual culture.
This work explores such questions as:
How and why is it that museums select and arrange artefacts, shape knowledge, construct a view? How do museums produce values? How do active audiences make meaning from what they experience in museums?
This stimulating book provokes debate and discussion on these topics and puts forward the idea of a new museum - the post-museum, which will challenge the familiar modernist museum. A must for students and professionals in the field.

Routledge, 2000