Booktalk: Curating the Contemporary in the Art Museum

Editors Malene Vest Hansen and Kristian Handberg in conversation with Sebastian Mühl, Nicola Foster, Annette Loeseke, and Tominga Hope O’Donnell.

Curating the Contemporary in the Art Museum (Routledge 2023) investigates the art museum as a space where the contemporary is staged – in exhibitions, collecting practices, communication, and policies. Including contributions by established and emerging art historians, academics and curators, the book proposes that the art museum is engaged in the contemporary in a double sense: it (re)presents contemporary art, while the contemporary condition itself also has a significant impact on art and the museum that houses it. Presenting a diverse range of international cases of exhibitions and curatorial practices, which hail primarily from Europe and Scandinavia, the essays examine the politics of staging "national", "international", and "global" framings of modernism, as well as the new public spaces shaped in digital practices and changing political frameworks. The book investigates both the seminal and the unknown exhibitions and institutions that created contemporary art as we know it today.

Malene Vest Hansen is an associate professor in Art History in the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, The University of Copenhagen. Contemporary art and critical curatorial and museum studies are her main research areas. Currently, she is PI of the research project Curating the Contemporary: An Exhibition History of the Museum of Modern Art as a new Bildung institution funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research.

Kristian Handberg is an Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, The University of Copenhagen. He was a National Gallery Denmark (SMK) postdoc with the project Curating the Contemporary (2019-2020). He is the coordinator of the research group Modernisms and researches exhibition histories of the postwar era and the contemporary musealization of modernism, currently through the research project Exhibiting Across the Iron Curtain.

The event takes place at 6 am US PST / 8 am US CDT / 9 am US EST / 3 pm Central European Time