Exhibitions as Research: Curator as….
Museums are institutionally divided into three main areas of work: research, heritage management, and public communication. Often these three domains live lives of their own within the same institution, and even cause internal conflicts as staff tend to disagree on which of the three domains should be given priority. The question is, however, whether it is possible to think of the three domains as integrated and therefore as the basis of a particular museal way of exploring the world. In terms of exhibitions we could phrase the question as: is it possible to think of exhibitions and the process of making them as research in and of itself? If so the making of an exhibition should not merely reflect and disseminate established knowledge, but produce new knowledge in the process.
Such a take on exhibition making poses a challenge to what it means to curate an exhibition – maybe in particular in museums of cultural history, which are the focus of this presentation. If exhibition making is not ‘just’ about making certain insights accessible and sensible to an audience, but actually a matter of generating a kind of ‘research surplus’, how do we go about that? What kind of competencies do we need? What kind of collaboration are we looking for?
This presentation will consider recent suggestions on the exhibition as experiment, research, and exploration and on basis of accounts from an upcoming exhibition on ‘COLLAPSE’ it will try to answer some of the questions raised in this abstract.
Intersectionality and Change: Challenges of the Authorized Heritage Discourse (AHD)
The dominating discourses and configurations/representations within museums today are usually presenting the past in very reduces stereotyped manners, especially in relation to gender. Even if the contexts are different, the stories are often told in the same way they have always been narrated.
This way of narrating the past has broadly been identified as the Authorized Heritage Discourse (AHD) by the critical heritage scholar Laurajane Smith (2006). The AHD is conceived as an ‘official’ way of understanding heritage and is, according to Smith, a particular way of understanding heritage which stresses the importance of expertise knowledge, and privileges the cultural recollection of a limited social stratum, including a limited scope on gender relations and representations.
One way of challenging this AHD is to critically analyse the curatorial practices from an intersectional perspective (Crenshaw 1991, Lykke 2010, Grahn 2011). This means to ask questions of how exhibitions configure and shape our remembrance of the intertwined relations of social identities such as gender, class, age, sexuality, dis/ability etc., which this presentation will do.
The Use Value of Research in the Art Institution
Where does research end, and where does an exhibition begin? Is there a moment when the institution leaves further investigations to the audience, and how can artistic research inform and influence an institutional understanding of a collection? The starting point for my presentation is the conference’s question: what is the potential of the exhibition format for presenting or even conducting research?
The presentation will be based on the exhibition project “In Search of Matisse” at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in 2015, and the research conducted in the three-year period leading up to the exhibition. The inquiry that led to and forms the basis of this presentation came from the heirs of the Jewish art collector Paul Rosenberg via the Art Loss Register (ALR). They informed HOK that the painting Robe bleue dans un fauteuil ocre (Blue dress in ochre armchair) from 1937 by Henri Matisse, had been confiscated by the Nazis from Rosenberg’s storage space during the invasion of France during the Second World War, and that the painting had been missing since. HOK returned the painting to the heirs after a two year long research period.
In parallel with HOK's own investigations and provenance research on the above mentioned painting as well as 19 other pre-war paintings, HOK established a college of artists where the ongoing research and the consequence of the findings were discussed, in order to broaden our understanding of provenance. Celine Condorelli, Marianne Heier, Dag Erik Elgin, Matts Leiderstam, and Michael Rakowitz were all invited to develop a new work in parallel to our archival research, more than 16 months before the show opened. The conversations led us to investigate the relationship between investigation of facts and research – both in terms of academic and the artistic understanding and use of the term, and led us to broaden the definition of provenance research to include a consideration of the social life of an artwork, i.e., an extensive examination of the social and societal constructs art has moved through, and the obliterating consequences of contemporary looting for cultural existence. In addition works by Hans Haacke, Hito Steyerl, Ulay, and Mounira al Solh were included in the exhibition.
The presentation will present and discuss each of the commissioned projects by the artists, as well as other relevant projects and open up for a dialogue of the relationship between research and exhibition.
Curatorship as Bildungsroman
Curating is a very dangerous theatrical practice for it is the occasion for both constructing and deconstructing the premises, promises, and consequences of what may be taken as social realities. It is one of a variety of ways of using things to think with, and is a practice with deep historical roots in Western antiquity. It not only precedes and is thereby more fundamental than what are currently distinguished as exhibitions, galleries, collections, or museums, but it is also not unique nor exclusive to any of those institutions and professions. Whether curating refers to the caring, organizing, managing, and manifesting of phenomena (whether material or virtual), it is at the same time stagecraft (organization in space-time), dramaturgy (narration and articulation), and rhetoric (the artistry of persuasion and the reckoning with things). It is at base a mode of critique. Curating, as a species of Bildungsroman, problematizes clear or fixed distinctions between art and religion precisely by foregrounding the processes of knowledge-formation and understanding. It is self-reflexive, calling attention to the art, artistry, and artifice of social realities; the fictions of factual representation.
An exhibition, then, is less a kind of thing of which curating is a function, and more a way of using things: a particular orientation toward potentially any thing. A way of staging or framing events and phenomena as significant in and for given social and cultural contexts. A method, in short, of making the visible legible so as to present, represent, manifest, or convey as significant or meaningful diverse values and beliefs for individuals, groups, or communities. Exhibitions are in addition dramatic occasions for seeing together in the same frame what may have had distinctly different origins, histories, functions, and purposes – juxtaposing philosophy, politics, law, rhetoric, and religion.
Curating and Research
How does one research for an exhibition, and how does research influence the exhibition itself? Looking into the ideas of artistic research, my talk will attempt to establish some working definitions of curatorial research, different methods and outcomes, and discuss if there is an entity we can call a ’Research Exhibition.’
Curating the Nude in Istanbul: Some Curatorial Challenges
As an art historian interested in the ways in which a gendered history of artistic practice has unveiled the female body in both cultural and political aspects within a process of modernity in Turkey, I found myself challenged by both personal and social concerns when curating an exhibition of the nude in Turkish painting at the Pera Museum in Istanbul in the autumn of 2015.
The exhibition, titled “Bare, Naked, Nude” focused on the nude in Turkish painting as visual code that extends the aesthetic context, reflecting the cultural conflicts between the opposing values of the traditional and the modern, the Islamic and the secular. Tracing the first examples of the nude to reveal not only the changing attitudes towards Western forms of culture in the late Ottoman period, but how the practice of this new visuality presented a new artistic language for the articulation of the cultural values of modern, secular, republican Turkey in the 1920s, my aim was to be able to discuss in visual terms how the nude stood at the intersection of the formation of both a new country and a new artistic identity. This aspect of the exhibition, that is, the articulation through paintings, drawings and some photographs of the questioning of a transformation of a cultural mindset was interesting to experience, all the more so with the feedback from the local or international audience touching on this exhibition as a kind of resistance to the ongoing neo-Ottoman conservatism in Turkey today, in which the nude poses a threat to conservative values. There was also the issue of belated modernity. The nudes that came together in this exhibition were in my eyes all interesting examples as reflections of not only cultural modernity, but of artistic modernity in Turkey. For many viewers, though, the artists included in the exhibition were mere emulators of Western styles.
On a personal level, the nude as a problematic issue from a feminist stance was another and significant curatorial challenge for me. I felt the need to add a contemporary perspective to problematize the nude, and used video art to convey the idea of how art history justifies the visual use and abuse of the female body. The architectural setting also functioned as shaping the curatorial message that aimed at the awareness of the viewer’s voyeur position. Thus the psychological/social/ideological aspects of engaging with the nude and how, or if, the viewer’s gaze can ever be controlled to see in a certain way were interesting questions to ponder.
Building Content with Exhibitions – about Essayistic Research
This presentation introduces some key findings from the scholarly monograph, which was completed in January 2016: Bygga innehåll med utställningar: Utställningsproduktion som forskningsprocess (Building content with exhibitions: Exhibition production as research process; forthcoming on Nordic Academic Press). Investigating essayistic, exhibition-specific research – i.e. ‘the exhibition essay’ – from theoretical, historical and practical perspectives, the monograph discusses at length the knowledge production in such processes through nine important aspects.
These aspects include research concept, which is investigated through the distinctions and tensions between different research concepts in museums of today and yesterday. Moreover, the monograph discusses research process through texts about the knowing and the ignorant, animation and dialogical work, and group and individual work in self-managed adult education. The book also explores research method through discussions about essayistic ways of forming, organizing and presenting knowledge, but also through discussions about art and scholarly knowledge. Finally, among other aspects, the monograph investigates research medium through various historical and theoretical notions of exhibition practices in art academies and industrial exhibitions, in addition to art museums and museums of cultural history.
Some of the historical, theoretical and practical arguments and concepts have been of value to the monographic study owing to their proximity to the concept of ‘exhibition essay’, others due to their distance from the same concept. The presentation at the conference highlights a couple of these aspects, more specifically by discussing the following question: What are the essentials of ‘exhibition essay’, in comparison to neighboring concepts such as ‘the curatorial’, ‘museum research’, ‘practical knowledge’, and ‘socio-cultural animation and action’?
Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn and Michael Barrett
The Archive as Subject: Activism and Subjectivity in the Ethnographic Archive
Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn was SWICH Artist in Residence at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm, September - November 2015. SWICH - Sharing a World of Inclusion, Creativity and Heritage - is a four-year collaborative project involving ten European museums of Ethnography and World Cultures, with the aim of creating dialogues on citizenship and belonging in contemporary Europe. Under the sub-theme "Stereoculture: the Art of Listening" four European partner museums host residencies for artists/experts/curators to develop critical perspectives on their practices, exhibitions and collections.
In Stockholm, Nguyễn investigated material culture and museological collecting practices. By examining photographic documentation of ethnographic field trips, the artist questioned processes of collecting and knowledge production based upon the extraction of Other's culture. Her entry point into the collection was through her family's photographic album from French Indochina, which helped her to question and contrast methods of knowledge production when documentations pertain to the private or the institutional spheres.
During workshops with staff and invited audience Nguyễn approached these contrasts and frictions embedded in visual and textual conventions and artifacts. On the one hand, should we understand her approach as that of an ”activist archivist” – a concept proposed by theorist Mark Wigley – “one who designs an archive whose purpose is to polemically rearrange the standard perception of the worlds outside [...] is to change the direction of thinking”? On the other hand, how do curators at museums of cultural history negotiate the epistemological space situated between subjective and objective knowledge production, which artistic interventions open for in the museum? Can the curatorial cope with explicit subjectivity?
Curating Gut Feelings – Building an Exhibition about Science in and as Process through Co-curation between Scientists, Artists and Museum Professionals
This talk will discuss issues of co-curation, exhibitions as research, and artistic collaborations in the context of the exhibition project Mind the Gut, winner of Bikubenfondens Vision 2015 award.
Mind the Gut investigates the strange history and contemporary science of the relationship between mind and gut, between brain and stomach; between the nervous system in our brain and the one in our belly; between what we eat and who we are; between the microbes that populate our digestive tracts and our mental states and disorders. It will investigate cultural and medical understandings of the gut-brain relationship as a special case of the puzzle of the psychosomatic: the relationship between mind, body, and environment. Mind the Gut is an exhibition about science in and as process, interested in the detective work of science; the weird, strange, and intangible aspects of investigating subjectivity experimentally.
In order to mirror this thematic emphasis on process, the project is itself founded on a museological experiment in co-curation between scientists, artists and museum staff. Instead of curators making the exhibition with factual input from scientists and then commissioning artists to make comment or critique after the exhibition is complete, we will open up the exhibition process from the start and invite a group of collaborators access to the ‘total medium’ of the exhibition. Through regular meetings and workshops, the project will examine ways of using the exhibition medium to display, investigate, and invite audiences to engage in science in and as a culturally embedded process. We will examine how artists, scientists and curators relate to each other’s ideas about what should be communicated when we communicate about science and its cultural contexts. The exhibition process itself will thus be research material, providing insights into the possibilities and pitfalls of co-curatorial. In the talk, I will discuss our preliminary thoughts on how to design a curatorial process that explores the potential of combining communication about how contemporary science works – the material, sensuous, and knowledge-producing qualities of research objects – and the opportunities of artistic methods and products.
The paper is co-written by Ass. Prof. Louise Whiteley, Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen
Exhibition matters: Curatorial Challenges in Re-producing Ivor Davies’ Adam on St Agnes’ Eve.
Over the past two decades, museums have begun responding to the challenges of addressing the place of historical performance art within collections. While existing processes of acquisition and conservation have expanded to encompass the temporal material base of these works, issues surrounding these artwork’s identity and extant materiality as archive persist in the context of temporary exhibitions as curators confront the problem of keeping the integrity and logic of performance-based artworks as changeable and experiential while adapting them to the conditions of the museum.
In this paper I present an outcome from my curatorial practice-based doctoral research into developing the exhibition Silent Explosion: Ivor Davies and Destruction in Art (Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, Cardiff, 2015-2016). Informed by ‘curating in the expanded field’ I will outline an experiment I initiated in the museum to exhibit one of Davies’ historical multimedia performances, Adam on St Agnes’ Eve (1968) as a temporary archival installation. The experiment explored exhibiting historical performance as performative archival installation, aiming to transcend the limitations both of the customary display of tangible remains as documentary evidence of disappearing events and of re-enactments that focus on liveness over the ‘multiplicity of materiality’ (Lillemose 2006) existing in performance.
I will reflect on how the collaborative approach blurred the roles of artist and curator, thus questioning notions of curatorship and authorship in museums, and its potentially challenging consequences for the future of the artwork in terms of its identity, collection and continuation. I will conclude by offering observations on the discourse of ‘the curatorial’ and curating as critical and creative practice in the context of traditional institutions.
What Matters to Young People? The Case of the White Busses at the National Museum of Copenhagen
How can museums create exhibitions that motivate young people to take an interest in a 70-year old event that most of them have never heard about? What makes an exhibition well-curated in a young person’s opinion, and does this differ from the views of other visitor groups? The paper presents results from research related to The White Busses, a temporary exhibition at The National Museum in Copenhagen about a large-scale rescue mission that took place at the end of the Second World War. More than 17.000 prisoners were rescued from German concentration camps by The White Busses.
Planning the exhibition, focus group interviews with young people inspired the curators to experiment with the exhibition narrative, the way texts were formulated, and how the exhibition was designed. The intention was to encourage participation and reflection engaging multiple senses as well as the intellect. Qualitative interviews conducted with visitors after seeing the exhibition gave us an idea about not only how visitors experienced the exhibition, but also what matters to the visitors when making cultural historical exhibitions.
Curatorial Challenges – Challenging Institutions. On the Relation between Critical Curating and Gallery Education in Contemporary Art Institutions
In an age where critique is both omnipresent and called for in regards to social, political and cultural questions, it is hardly news that curatorial practices have faced significant changes and expansion over the last decades. Critical approaches, embedded in continuously arising and disappearing turns have taught curators to adapt to these ever-changing, flexible conditions. Furthermore, the blurred boundary between critically working curators and gallery educators suggest that they have in fact internalised this curatorialization of critique, as Jens Hoffmann put it. They are aware of their own working conditions and look critically at art institutions and museums as grown, constructed apparatuses of power, as Bildungsinstitutionen whose function is constantly being challenged. Transformation seems to be on the agenda, expecting art institutions to follow along as attested to, for instance, by an observable format shift. Yet, curators and educators alike are conscious about the fine line between disrupting and stabilizing dominant orders.
By adapting Carmen Mörsch’s description of the functions of art education as critical practice, I will develop an understanding of critical curating that is informed by practices of radical pedagogy. Furthermore, I will explore two exemplary strategies of this approach. On the one hand, the collective and grassroots democratic approach to programming in the neue gesellschaft für bildende kunst, especially the format Mapping the commons – zur Lage der ngbk. This three-part workshop sets out to reflect on the current education programme and borrows strategies from both game design and performance. As a comparison I will present the format Inverse institution of the Flutgraben e.V. that is working on building sustainable, solidary and collectively organized structures for running a project space.
With these two case studies, I will explore how critical curating and gallery education may join forces to subvert traditional exhibition formats and programme structures by creating spaces of action and agency, thus answering to contemporary curatorial challenges.
The ‘Aesth-Ethics’ of the 21st Century Art Museums Practices of Ethics through Curatorial Research
In recent years, the core aesthetic domain of modern and contemporary art museums has switched from exhibiting artworks into creating social impact. Ethics has replaced aesthetics as the main focus of the art museum. Modern and contemporary art institutions are using exhibitions and public programs’ initiatives as means to explore different practices of ethics while engaging with the audiences and being aware of the contemporary events that influence society. The paper defines museum curatorial ethics as a way of thinking and behaving that is engaged with and shaped by contingent events. Curatorial ethics is an approach and a means for modern and contemporary art museums to characterize through curatorial practice their social, cultural and aesthetic role as platforms for critical reflections, individual and collective cultivation, and politically organized ‘spaces of action’. At the same time, the art museum of the 21st century has opened its curatorial palette in the direction of both discursive and immersive ways of curating exhibitions and collection displays. These alternative and unconventional experiential models of curating result from different research approaches and generate knowledge that is not measurable on academic standards. What kind of knowledge is generated through exhibitions? How could we evaluate the outcome of this research? Curatorial research is described as a series of practices inspired by curatorial ethics and aims at exploring alternative ways to give voice to the plurality of narratives, histories and representations inhabiting today’s art museums.
Innovative, Polemical, Dogmatic: the Case of Soviet Experimental Museum Displays in 1930-32
Today’s art museums increasingly present their collections in the form of special exhibitions – temporary and often polemical propositions – rather than in what used to be known as ‘permanent displays,’ a seemingly universal unfolding of a teleological progression. Now historical development itself is understood as fragmented and multifaceted; questioning hierarchies and ideological constructs has become a new given. Do museums today still have a responsibility for creating coherent historical narratives alongside discrete and fragmented viewpoints? How to find a balance between innovative displays that overtly and convincingly present their ideological premises and the seemingly neutral but tendentious expositions? To create a perspective on these issues, I present a historical case study of a select group of radically experimental museum displays held at major Soviet museums between 1930 and 1932. Known as “paper exhibitions,” due to their abundant use of explanatory materials, these displays were spurred by the Marxist understanding of artistic development as an expression of the underlying socio-political processes. Two of my examples are the special exhibition entitled “Works of Art on Soviet and Revolutionary Themes” held in May 1930 at The State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and an experimental collection display “The Art in the Era of Imperialism” held in 1931 at the State Russian Museum in Leningrad. Intended to educate broad masses of Soviet citizens about recent developments in Russian art, these displays used highly innovative narrative strategies, such as quotes by political authorities, critics and artists, historical ephemera, and techniques of cinematic montage, and combined several artistic media to create a rich and polyphonic historical presentation that appeared to have an objective basis in the dialectical-materialist methodology. Highly effective in their curatorial strategies, some of which anticipate those used in museums today, these exhibitions were criticized for being excessively didactic, for instrumentalizing individual works, and for “guiding the viewers too firmly by the hand.” Examining these displays in all their contradictions will shed today’s vital questions of museum curating in a new critical light.
The Implied Truth in Curating Greenlandic Art
With a population of 56.000 people, Greenland is one of the smallest nations in the world, and it has a combined European and Inuit historical background. In all of Greenland, there are only two art museums. They are both owned by the municipalities, and they are both former private collections. The largest of them is located in the capital, Nuuk.
Both art collections consist largely of art by the Danish artist Emanuel A. Petersen (Petersen (1894-1948) that through beautiful scenic representations depict Greenland as a vulnerable Inuit country, where people live in close contact with nature. A story that becomes a verification of the presumptions about Greenlandic art that is often found in literature on the topic.
With no other presentation of Greenlandic art, the museums become carriers of a narrow perspective that leaves other types of representation as well as newer media like performance, video, photography, and installation art only to be included in temporary exhibitions. The public, including future researchers, only have access to the art historical discourse provided by the two former private collections and the temporary exhibitions.
The museums and their portrait of Greenlandic art has become an implied, unopposed truth, something that the lack of art criticism only contributes to. This means that the research done, in relation to exhibition making, takes on a very important role. The paper will discuss how to critically rethink the narratives presented at the art museums in Greenland.
Exhibition Addresses: The Production of Publics in Exhibiting Danish Colonial History
2017 marks the centenary of Denmark’s sale of its former Caribbean colonies to the US. This paper engages with questions and challenges faced in the preparation of an exhibition of visual material from the Danish colonial archives that will open in 2017 at The Royal Library of Copenhagen. Exhibiting visual materials that have been central to the formation and continuance of racialized regimes of national, gendered, and ethnic difference is challenging, as it can risk to both spectacularize and normalize unfinished histories of denigration and violence.
This paper seeks to discuss the politics and poetics of address when considering the framing of the visual material in the exhibition. Following Bruce Ferguson’s seminal work on exhibition rhetorics, I am interested in reflecting on what publics can and will be produced by and through the exhibition. If a public, as Michael Warner has noted, “exists by virtue of being addressed,” what work can be done to foster that the public addressed will be a public of critique, diversity, and difference? By analyzing examples of how museum exhibitions on histories of colonialism and slavery in Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK address their audience in wall-texts, videos, sounds installations, games, and other para-textual framing techniques, the paper suggests the importance of considering the production of publics as a core curatorial concern in the process of exhibition making.
From Archive to Museum
As a prologue to a discussion about the role of film archives in the 21st century, David Francis, British film archivist and curator, claims: “I believe that both library and archive are the wrong words, and museum is the right word (…) Because the museum itself today is a total experience: it accepts the need to preserve the artefacts, to maintain heritage, but also accepts the need to present.” (Paolo Cherchi Usai et al. (ed.), Film Curatorship: archives, museums and the digital marketplace, 2008). Over the last decades, the new technological possibilities allow a wider representation of archives in the art museum. Archival film plays several roles in the museum context: Sometimes mediation, at other times document or even artwork, making the construction of its meaning worthy of examination. Any museum that is firmly didactic in purpose starts with the premise that “education” is not exclusively the role of the education staff but that the collection itself and the curators who exhibit it are actively a part of the educational function. Since the beginning of its existence, the museum has become a consequential device to accompany the learning process. In the beginning of the 20th century, American museums took an active part in the popularization of modern art and increased external projects and extended programs such as traveling exhibitions, teaching portfolios, slide talks and projections of films.
Indeed, the photographic recording seems the perfect instrument, as it is simultaneously a tool of investigation, an educational material and a method of communication. This paper will focus on the emergence of the document exhibit in art museums and analyse the implications of this curatorial shift for the status of the document. Expanding upon these ideas, this paper will consider also the use of documentation as educator in the museum context, underlining what can be called “education as a form of art”.
Artists Working with Archives: Old Story, New Participatory Narratives. The Case Study of the Negotiating Amnesia Project in the Alinari’s Archive
From the post-modern till today, artists such as Tacita Dean, historians such as Hal Foster and thinkers such as Derrida have seen archives as objects of aesthetic fascination (Charles Merewether, 2006). So there is nothing new about inviting an artist to work in an archive, however, the project Negotiating Amnesia by artist Alessandra Ferrini has produced a new narrative and has used participation as a strategy to produce new meanings and challenge cultural conventions.
Negotiating Amnesia is the first artist-in-residence project realised within the Alinari’s Archive, one of the oldest photographic archives in Europe. With its extensive photographic campaigns of the newly united kingdom of Italy, the Alinari Company has contributed to shaping Italian national identity.
Today, Negotiating Amnesia, through the analysis of images of the Italian occupation of East Africa during the fascist regime and the investigation of the history textbooks used in Italian high schools from 1946 to today, has brought to light hidden aspects of the Italian identity, exploring the legacy of Italian colonialism and its emblematic politics of amnesia.
The interventions of high school classes in the installation have made Negotiating Amnesia one of the first artistic productions to be participatory and to reflect on Italian post-colonialism. This project is capable of redrawing the existing ‘conceptual map’ and fostering the birth of a new interpretative community.
The Challenges of Research Driven Exhibitions
This paper considers the role of large-scale group exhibitions as research platforms. Pioneering research, traditionally the driving force of Academia, has incrementally been absorbed in the lifecycle of institutional exhibitions. From research symposiums to collaborative doctoral awards and advisory committees, exhibitions have increasingly projected and enforced a desire to act as research hubs. Without forgoing their visual drive, projects like WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles – 2007) or Global Conceptualism: Points of Origin, 1950s-1980s (Queens Museum, New York – 1999) demonstrated how new research could be fostered through the curatorial lens. These endeavours – with an eye to rethinking feminism the former and reassessing the global remit of conceptualism the latter – are exemplary of how curatorial strategies fostered ground breaking research.
Taking as a starting point The World Goes Pop – the exhibition I most recently co- curated at Tate Modern – this paper seeks to analyse the role of exhibitions as a form of research. Both the locus of art historical reassessment, projects like The World Goes Pop strategically partake in the museum’s desire to expand its geographical interests, as well as offer alternative views on dominant discourses. While exhibitions are temporary by nature, they are nonetheless redeployed as vehicles to further museums’ long term vision. By taking The World Goes Pop, WACK and Global Conceptualism as case studies this paper will address the challenges and the outcomes that research-driven exhibitions like these offer, and how they contribute to the reframing of contemporary institutional practices. email@example.com
The Artist as Curator: Interventions in Museum Collections
As the production of art has become intrinsically connected to its exhibition, artists have increasingly involved themselves in the act of curating. This does not only go for the exhibition of their own work or in the case of self-organized group exhibitions – today many museum institutions invite artists to intervene in their permanent collections and curate auteur exhibitions. To some artists curating becomes an integrated part of their practice while others distinguish sharply between the two. In either case, it seems like artist-curators operate with certain privileges and have been allowed (and encouraged) by the institutions to challenge the ideological premises the collections are founded on or even the format of the exhibition as such. Artist-curated exhibitions of the last 50 years or so have thus proposed alternative and critical curatorial strategies – well-known examples are Andy Warhol’s Raid the Icebox I in 1969, Burton on Brancusi that initiated MoMA’s Artist's Choice’s program in 1989, and Fred Wilson’s Mining the Museum in 1992-93. These shows raised questions about the categorization, canonization, and valorization of art and are considered seminal in exhibition history.
My paper will consider the artist-curated exhibition as a producer of art historical discourse and discuss recent attempts to analyze what Elena Filipovic has called “a profoundly influential but still understudied phenomenon, a history that has yet to be written” (“When Exhibitions Become Form. On the History of the Artist as Curator”, 2014). With examples from artist-curated shows at art museums (J.F. Willumsens Museum, MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum) I will trace some of the characteristics of these exhibitions and discuss how standard art historical criteria are seen replaced by anachronic, idiosyncratic, and associative curatorial approaches. Without proposing the artist-curated exhibition as a dichotomy to other kinds of exhibitions, I will consider its potential for rethinking methodological and discursive practices at museum institutions.
Katharine Anderson and Jan Hadlaw
Re-imaging the Canada Science and Technology Museum
The discovery of mould in the Canada Science and Technology Museum (Ottawa) in September 2014 resulted in the razing of the museum building and initiated the process of rebuilding and re-imagining one of Canada’s popular national museums. The museum is set to reopen in fall 2017, the 50th anniversary of its founding. The museum’s directors, curators, and interpretation officers, along with architects, exhibition designers, and design build teams, are thus faced with a rare challenge and opportunity of re-imagining the museum from the ground up. For us as STS scholars, the museum’s redesign has afforded the opportunity to undertake an ethnographic study of the redesign project and to observe, in practice and directly, the issues and considerations that we study theoretically—usually after the event, including ideas about scientific and technological artefacts, and the reality of articulating connections between things, audiences, and words.
Our presentation draws on our observations of the redesign process and focuses on two aspects. Firstly, it considers the work of interdisciplinary decision-making in creating the meaning of artifacts. This is particularly important as science and technology museums, perhaps to a greater degree than other museums, face the challenges of addressing and responding to diverse audiences and mandates. Secondly, we will explore the challenges and paradoxes of crafting a national identity for a science and technology museum, especially in the context of Canada’s historical articulation of science, technology, and nationalism in the construction of its identity as a modern nation in the 20th century. We will examine how this legacy survives in the museum’s representation of the global techno-scientific world of the 21st century.
Multiple Modernism: New Globalized Framings of the Postwar Era in the Recent Exhibitions After Year Zero and The World Goes Pop
As museal subject, the postwar era of the 1950s and 1960s is currently reassessed from being a dull, in-between age (easily overshadowed by the WW2-years and the notorious late-1960s) to a past that the present is eager to engage with. This includes a shifting perspective from hegemonic Western modernism to a “multiple modernities” view emphasizing different cultural narratives of modernity as characterizing the era and the configuration of artistic modernism(s).
Two recent exhibitions exemplify this:
- 1. After Year Zero at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, and Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2015): An experimental curatorial research-based exhibition discussing the relations between Europe and the new nations in Africa and Asia after 1945 (“Year Zero”), combining archive material form the postwar-era with contemporary artworks and research.
- 2. The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern, London (2015-2016). A large-scale presentation telling “the global story of pop art from Latin America to Asia, and from Europe to the Middle East” and showing “how different cultures and countries responded to the movement” through a large survey of artworks from the 1960s.
My presentation will discuss these cases and different types of exhibitions (experimental research-based with activist agenda vs. “blockbuster” presentation and interdisciplinary staging of cultural historical matter vs. exhibition of artworks) as manifestations of a reassessment of modernism and a global modernity: a central curatorial challenge across the current museum and curatorial landscape. They do also exemplify exhibitions as forms of research corresponding to critical debates and academic research highlighting the role of the curator as researcher, but also the significance of different contexts and audiences.
Nathalia Brichet and Frida Hastrup
Mild Apocalypse. Exhibiting Interdisciplinary Research
A research-based exhibition at the new Moesgaard Museum in Denmark is the focus of this presentation. The exhibition with the title “Mild Apocalypse” is based on transdisciplinary fieldwork in a former industrial mining site located in the middle of Jutland, Denmark. It engages the so-called Søby brown coal beds as a ruined landscape, shaped by extractive activities in the years 1940-1970. A landscape that cannot by now be fully mastered and controlled by humans due to its instability caused by the brown coal digging, resulting, among other things, in water-saturated quick sand and landslides.
In the exhibition and the presentation we will thus qualify what a Danish Anthropocene landscape might look like. Which visual manifestations might work for a ‘big’ and global concept like the Anthropocene when fieldworked through a rather small scale and in some sense insignificant former industrial landscape in Denmark? How to curate an exhibition that is based on discussions with, insights from, and stakes of other participating researchers and not least informants living in the area, all of whom make up the site in multiple and often contradictory ways? In the exhibition we have worked with artistic creativity and aesthetics in order both to foreground the collaborative nature of our fieldwork and to be explicit about the curatorial choices. Along the way, a leitmotif has been to work with the brown coal beds as a site that is both more and less than the locality in Søby. We thus want to explore research-based exhibitions as thoroughly collaborative, generative and analytical feats, a stance which calls for curators-cum-researchers taking center stage as the responsible creators of the perspectives communicated.
The Unchangeable Museum? A Fictitious Visit by Professor Donald Preziosi at the National Gallery of Denmark / Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK).
This paper confronts the overall practice of the SMK with some of the challenges Donald Preziosi has presented to museums. According to Preziosi, museums have remained unchanged despite the critique produced for decades by critical museology. Chrystal Palace is still the matrix of museums, including a nice garden accommodating the public and the offering of an unchallenged, imperialistic-nationalistic view of the world. From their temples, art is presented as a vehicle for escapism, not as a nexus for circulating difficult, fundamental questions. Museums work in an epistemological vacuum in which all activities only confirm continuity and containment, no matter how lofty promises they offer.
Regardless of Preziosi’s critique, museums like to see themselves as dedicated to change. The SMK promises itself to be “a leading national gallery in the 21st century”. In order to live up to this promise, the national gallery tries to include more female artists, and they have turned more event-driven, more digital, and more inclusive.
Right now, the main challenge confronting the SMK is not (if it ever was) how to change according to critique coming from academic circles, but how to earn enough money to keep up appearances after having faced yet another financial cutback. Among the areas targeted for reductions were those being most experimental.
A curator at the SMK wakes up every day thinking about fundraising, fixing the budget, adopting to visitor surveys, and putting up yet another exhibit, all being practical matters on which museology has little else to offer than an unmanageable amount of negative critique. Thus, the museum changes all the time, but it easily falls prey to the critique that – fundamentally – it does not.
Art and Affect - Participative Encounters in the Museum
Participation is intrinsic to most museological discourses today. As a highly used buzz-word, or a keyword to use a less loaded term by Raymond Williams, it is often met with either enthusiasm or skepticism by professionals and academics alike; either posed as a possibility to grasp or a paradigm to obey. In this paper I will briefly trace the different discourses on participation that permeate the field of museology and art criticism. The aim is to create the context for an alternative discourse on participation. Taking my point of departure in recent exhibitions of contemporary art, I want to insist on the aesthetic encounter and the exhibition situation itself as a participative practice. By introducing notions of performativity, affect and immersion I want to challenge and extend the limits of participation and the ways in which the concept has been framed and articulated. This move obviously entails the risk of diluting the concept. Hopefully, however, it will also generate new productive ways of understanding participation by making space for bodily, perceptual and cognitive encounters between art and its public. In my paper I will raise questions to the type of knowledge that is produced in the ‘event-ness’ of the encounter, that is, in the very act of viewing and engaging with works of art in the museum. What is the character of this type of knowledge? How can we – if at all – evaluate what takes place between the different agents that make up the exhibition situation? Likewise and in conclusion, some thoughts will be shared regarding my extension of the concept of participation. What is gained by extending this notion – and what is lost in the process? And how does this extended version align with existing discourses on participation?
The Museum as Generator, or: What Can the Single Artist Retrospective Learn from the Topical Exhibition?
The last decade has witnessed an increased theoretical and educational focus on the expanded field of the curatorial. New experimental forms of curating have evolved, implicating an increased focus on the curator as a producer of cultural meanings on a par with the artist. As an effect, the curatorial has come to be seen as an act of meaning production, sometimes in the shape of a practice based research, as discussed in several recent publications. My paper will discuss some of the implications of these recent discourses regarded from within a specific institutional context – that of a larger museum of modern art. I will bring into this discussion two major projects, which I curated – the one being the three-year experimental exhibition project Utopia at ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, and the other being the recent monographic retrospective Yayoi Kusama – In Infinity at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Whereas recent discourses about research-based exhibitions emphasise topical exhibitions whose curatorial approach bears resemblances to research-based artistic practices, my paper will investigate a different curatorial model, which has been overlooked in discourses on the curatorial – that of the single artist retrospective. This format continues to hold a central and strong position in the content programming of modern and contemporary art museums. Enough reason that we, as curators, should make it the object of the same level of self-reflective scrutiny and experimentation as we bring into more obviously “experimental” formats. With the Yayoi Kusama exhibition as a primary example my presentation reflects on the question how a critical curatorial approach nested in this well-established exhibition category can productively generate new cultural narratives. A main argument in my presentation is that contemporary and modern art museums should regard themselves as generators. In contrast to a traditional notion of the museum as an institution, which preserves existing meanings, guarding what is already there, I take a constructivist approach highlighting how curatorial work creates cultural narratives and play a part in shaping the cultural imaginary. Thus the museum takes the shape as a “producer of culture”. I will touch upon issues such as: how to narrate the artist, what constitutes the oeuvre, integrating research into the curatorial process, and methods and potentials of curating beyond the white cube.
Curating the Archive. Feminist Politics, Curatorial Strategies
In the context of the archival turn, archives became of primary interest to curators, artists, and cultural researchers. Until today, both existing archives and archives to be constructed remain a major curatorial challenge in the field of art and research. Queer/Feminist theorists such as Anne Cvetkovich (2003), Kate Eichhorn (2013), and Suely Rolnik (2012) have emphasized the central role and notion of archives for feminist thinking. Building on the conception that archives enable to change the perspective on the conditions of the present, this paper looks at the potential of archival practices specifically for feminist curating. Rather than considering the archive as a site of historical truth and representation, feminist curators and artists alike make use of the archive as a format that enables new forms of research as well as micropolitical feminist intervention.
Thus, this paper explores how feminist artists and curators have developed curatorial strategies that challenge dominant narratives of space, temporality, the subject, and histories. These practices un/do the archive as a format that mobilizes alternative feminist politics. The paper will address the following questions: How can curatorial procedures and practices unfold the potential of the archive as a site of research but also of critical investigation? And how does a feminist curatorial practice look like that considers the archive as part of a “genealogical politics” (Kate Eichhorn 2013) that aims at regaining agency and that developes modes of micropolitical intervention within the field of art and curating?
Marie Riegels Melchior
Fashion Curation. Unpacking a New Discipline and Practice
At a time when fashion is increasingly entering galleries and museums, and even shops and boutiques are being transformed into “curated” spaces, a new academic discipline has emerged under the heading of “Fashion Curation” (at London College of Fashion since 2006). This Master’s programme has existed for ten years under the leadership of Professor Judith Clark, who in her own curatorial work is considered to have transformed the language of fashion exhibitions from dress history displays to conceptual fashion experiences. Drawing on the historical legacy of Diana Vreeland, who was special consultant to The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue, Clark translates the editorial language into a curatorial one in order to draw attention to the narrative of the exhibition and to evoke emotional experiences in its visitors.
In the paper, the disciplinary content of “fashion curation” will be explored, museologically contextualised, and discussed in connection with an analysis of the recent special exhibition Utopian Bodies: Fashion Looks Forward, shown at Liljevalchs Art Gallery in Stockholm (September 25, 2015 – February 7, 2016). The exhibition was curated by fashion curation graduates Serge Martynov and Sofia Hedman, who form the curation and exhibition design company Museea, and critics praised their work in Utopian Bodies as representing the state of the art in fashion curatorship.
Mette Kia Krabbe Meyer
Images as Visual Sources: Representing the Former Danish West Indies
Historical images from the former Danish West Indies have shaped and continue to inform interpretations of the Danish colonial past. Museum, archival and library collections include several depictions of the area and its inhabitants, from Frederik von Scholten's drawings and watercolours from the 1830s to stereographs sold by Elfelt & Co.'s photographic atelier around 1900. The vast majority of these images are created by Danes and as such represent the colonizer's perspective. In historiographical publications, exhibitions, and popular culture at large these images often occur as mere illustrations of places and people, as neutral windows to the world of the colonial past. They are rarely considered as representations with a viewpoint and a history of their own.
Exhibiting these images in an exhibition on representations of the Caribbean with a focus on the former Danish West Indies, how does one elucidate the image as a representation and direct the spectator's attention to its context of creation and interpretation? How does one reproduce or present the image without reproducing the understanding of it as transparent? The paper gives an insight into the preparation of an exhibition at The Royal Library of Copenhagen in 2017 commemorating the centenary of the sale of the Danish West Indies. Following the works of scholars such as Nicholas Mirzoeff, Krista A. Thompson, and Marcus Wood it investigates a number of different images in order to point to certain visual tropes and genres in what could be identified as a visual discourse on the Danish West Indies.
Nuuk Museum: A Case Study on Public Participation in Exhibition Making and Heritage Management
The cultural landscapes are perceived differently depending on perspective; the scientific researcher experiences the landscape as a climatic library of knowledge preserved by permafrost and huge distances, the tourists come for the magnificent landscape, quaint towns and a sample of the local Inuit culture whereas the indigenous Inuit experiences hunting grounds and places related to old stories and past experiences.
The first two are seasonal visitors briefly interacting with the cultural landscapes, the physical landscapes, museums, and special tours. The latter are permanently in Greenland with almost completely different experiences. The local claim has been that museums are for tourists but through participatory approaches, community participation, involvement, and engagement Nuuk Museum is contesting that claim.
The indigenous knowledge bank of community (local knowledge) and environmental changes (traditional knowledge) have accumulated over several generations and the museum wishes to extract and visualise these changes through public participation.
The twist is that Nuuk Museum focuses on intangible heritage and my research examines how the intangible is made tangible and if this transfiguration resonates with the local community. The aim, however, is also to create a venue accommodating the local community as well as the seasonal visitors. This venue will ideally negotiate and link the international community with the local and furthermore offer space for collective dissemination. Both the museum and the users would benefit from such an arrangement since all stakeholders would gain new knowledge and appreciation for Inuit cultural heritage.
Congress, Forum, Hearing, Summit – on the Political Complexion of Exhibition Events
Since the mid-2000s, and especially in the past couple of years, the European part of the art world has seen an increasing amount of large art events taking on names and formats of political proceedings. Think of the The Anthropocene Project at Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2013-14 that consisted of a series of hearings and forums aimed at ‘providing new models for culture, politics, and everyday life’. Or think of the New World Summit initiated by artist Jonas Staal in 2012 that describes itself as ‘an artistic and political organization dedicated to providing “alternative parliaments” to host organizations that currently find themselves excluded from democracy.’
Such an emphasis on political organisation points to a tendency to use the exhibition space for convoking people beyond the art scene (experts, scientist, activists and laymen) around pressing issues. In this paper, I present initial research into the political complexion of such art events. First, what characterizes these exhibition events? Next, what possible tradition can they be seen in the light of? And how can we critically theorise such initiatives?
I suggest to base these questions on a historical backdrop of political and cultural art events, such as the tri-continental meetings and Mediterranean biennials from the 1950s, pan-Arabic biennials in the 1970s, the Havana Biennial from the 1980s and Documenta since 1997. The theoretical discussion uses sociological theory and philosophy pertaining to the Francophile tradition from the 1990s and onwards of Bruno Latour (‘parliament of things’), Michel Callon (‘hybrid forums’) and Isabelle Stengers (‘cosmopolitical proposal’ and ‘slowing down’) to ask the critical question: can the exhibition space of today fulfil the expectations of hosting alternative processes of democracy?
Against the Grain of Neutralization: Exhibiting the Ephemeral as a Curatorial Production of Historical Knowledge
If the curatorial requires new approaches to knowledge mediation, then many argue this should go hand in hand with new forms of reactualizing the artistic potency and inventing curatorial commemoration. In 2011, Italian curator Francesca Bertolotti organized a retrospective of Reiner Ruthenbeck’s work, presented at the Villa Romana in Florence. Ruthenbeck (*1937), a former student of Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf, is one of the most recognized German sculptors of his generation. His work spans from conceptual to minimal sculpture, installation, sound, photography and drawing. He uses everyday materials such as cloth, ashes or paper and is interested in contrasting materiality and lightness to produce contemplative or surreal works. The visually haptic materiality is a distinct quality of his work. The exhibition “Dokumentation Reiner Ruthenbeck” presented his works by projecting them onto the gallery walls.
In my paper I want to discuss key aspects of this exhibition project. I will mainly elaborate on the hypothetical question whether such an exhibition is a curatorial gimmick or a feasible way of art mediation through documentation. If the latter applies, the next question that will be discussed is how the projected still image of works of art should be contextualized in terms of its media history, as well as its apparatus and hybrid character. Instead of so-called “historical“, “true“ reconstructions, this exhibition project focused on activating the memory of contemporary spectators not only through presenting these archival documents but also by producing and representing new forms of mediation from historical facts. The paper therefore discusses the conceptually contradictive nature of curatorial subjectivity while creating memories through an exhibition, and the nature of documents to which objectivity is traditionally ascribed. Furthermore, it is striking to see that the artist's voice has not been integrated in any official discussion, neither in catalogue nor press contexts. The evaluation of the project by the artist himself has been taken into close consideration and been juxtaposed with the concept of the diverse uses of projected documentary images within the exhibition display.
Sabine Dahl Nielsen
Multi-sited Curating as a Critical Mode of Knowledge Production
In my paper, I will present and discuss the notion of multi-sited curating. When taking a look at today’s international art scene it becomes apparent that many art institutions are currently venturing into public spaces and engaging in so-called off-site curating. In my paper, I will argue that a shift can advantageously be made from off-site curating to multi-sited curating. By using the term multi-sited curating I mean to imply that sites should not only be perceived as singular, i.e. as specific and clearly delineated physical spaces. They should also be thought of as multiple in the sense that they are interrelated, intertwined and situated within a plurality of mutually dependant flows and networks.
Drawing on critical mobility studies, human geography, conflict theory and globalisation theory, my paper will explore how theoretical fields of research such as these can become relevant in relation to curatorial projects. These considerations will take their analytical point of departure in a concrete curatorial research project that I am currently working on, namely Transit: Mobility and Migration in the age of Globalisation. The project in question seeks to explore the notion of multi-sited curating as a critical mode of knowledge production. Among other activities, a series of urban transit zones will be employed as commissioning sites. In my paper, I will discuss how this curatorial strategy intends to emphasize – in a very concrete and tangible way - how transit zones in today’s globalised societies are connected in a multiplicity of ways. Also, the strategy seeks to highlight the fact that mobility flows are often characterized by varying intensities, asymmetrical power relations and unequal means of participation. To sum up, I will thus argue that urgent questions such as who is moving, why and under which specific conditions become possible to address when activating the notion of multi-sited curating in the medium of the research exhibition.
Jakob Ingemann Parby
Rethinking the Urban History Museum – Challenges and Possibilities in Curating the New Museum of Copenhagen
In 2006 Duncan Grewcock wrote that if museums of cities did not already exist, they would need to be invented to help understand and negotiate urban change. He argued that city museums had the potential to occupy a unique position as “an open-ended [...] democratic space, that can be physically experienced as a quarter of the city, but also used as a site for debate, discussion and experimentation on urban issues within the context of a city’s past, present and future.” This could invoke the museum “as a networked, distributed conversation rather than an inward-looking institution.” (Duncan Grewcock, ”Museums of Cities and Urban Futures”, 2006)
Since 2008 the Museum of Copenhagen has attempted to rethink itself along the lines of a networked conversation. Changing its profile from a more traditional, static museum with permanent chronological galleries to a more contemporary institution, it has developed its visitor profile through a comprehensive programme of outreach projects, exhibitions on contemporary topics, and experiments with online and urban space dissemination.
The museum is currently entering a new phase of its transformation moving from Vesterbro to a location in Central Copenhagen where a new museum will open in Spring 2018. In my paper, I will discuss the visions for the new museum as well as the curatorial challenges involved in redirecting focus and integrating explorations from the recent institutional change. The layout and exhibitions of the new museum will merge the concept of networked conversation with new tendencies in the museum sector centering on sustainable exhibition practices. This entails designing exhibitions and museums that allows for the ephemeral and transformational outside the format of the large-scale temporary exhibition. And it means reconfiguring the museum in its spatial and temporal dimensions, seeing the museum not only as a building, but as a materialized and historicized form of dialogue integrated into the urban fabric.
Susan Kozel, Maria Engberg, and Temi Odumosu
Living Archives. Artistic Research Approaches to Mixed-Reality Curating
Living Archives is a research project based at Malmö University in Sweden, which explores the potential of networked and digitized cultural heritage archives by prototyping and testing possibilities for the co-production of shared public memories. Viewing archive material (photographs, film/video, audio, text) as relevant and interactive social resources in the present we are extending traditional archiving and curatorial practices by considering alternative modes of narrative interaction that include Augmented Reality (AR), the sensorial, and the performative.
This presentation will describe a methodological shift from Augmented Reality (AR) to Mixed Reality (MR) by focussing on two experimental projects currently in progress, where we have integrated AR software on iOS handheld devices with performance and other curatorial strategies: “Affexity: Passages and Tunnels” exploring layers of choreography in various urban settings; and “Bitter and Sweet” revealing colonial memories embedded in the Vestindisk Pakhus in Copenhagen. AR/MR have provided a number of interactive possibilities for connecting users with archives and cultural information in multiple environments. GPS locative functions, geo-spatial panoramas, image or object recognition, and the incorporation of multimedia (video, sound), are all browser-based capabilities that (despite their limitations) enable users to access that which is not immediately visible to the eye.
Our approach to curating is one of participatory remediation: where people, archives, objects and words combine with digital matter and contribute to a performance or re-enactment of memory. An experience where tags, loops, feeds, delays, and glitches further enhance the fragmented and “out of synch” connections between present and past. The approach we are developing is therefore one of subtle disruption – activating memories rather than re-telling history, and using technology to create openings that point to moments of intimacy and sensitivity. In this way, we bring people into closer contact with hidden presences, unexpected turns in narrative, or simply face to face with the fragile seams of archiving itself.
Margareta von Oswald
“Object Biographies“ – Addressing the Challenges Facing Ethnographic Collections in Europe
Ethnographic museums have had to deal with a vigorous critique, one which questions the legitimacy of their very existence. They have continuously tried to reposition themselves amidst heated debates concerning the museums’ colonial origins, touching on controversial issues such as, first, the objects’ material appropriation in colonial contexts; second, the objects’ symbolic appropriation through their naming, categorizing, and exhibiting, and third, past and present access to their collections, generally excluding those who have cultural links to them.
The exhibition “Object Biographies“, which I co-curated with Dr Verena Rodatus, attempted to address some of those challenges on a curatorial level. On display in Berlin’s Ethnologisches Museum from March to October 2015, the exhibition rotated the gaze, directing it at the museum itself – at its history, practices, and networks. It examined three objects from the Africa collection as case studies. In cooperation with African and European scholars, we highlighted different aspects of the objects’ trajectories to address controversial issues linked to European ethnographic collections.
We laid open the history of two very prominent objects from today’s Cameroon and Democratic Republic of the Congo. We not only showed their violent provenance during colonial times, but also questioned the subsequent construction by the market and by the museum of a canon of “African Art“. The third object group, from today’s Benin, had never been exhibited before. Together with a Beninese art historian, we took the object group as a starting point for a collaborative research project to pursue the question of what the absence of the objects meant in their region of origin. The exhibition thus went beyond a mere ”historicized reflexivity“ (Sharon Macdonald). It contributed to the reflection about the use of these historical collections today and how these collections, after we break with colonial epistemologies and modes of thought, can be used in contemporary research, discussion and identification.
Mix It Up! Old Collections Inspiring New Creativity and Learning
Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK) is on a mission to explore how digital media can increase our reach and impact as public institution. To this end, we have opened up our public domain digitised collections to be freely re-used for all purposes, be they creative, commercial, innovative, erudite or playful.
In the spring of 2015, SMK invited a range of designers and artists to remix digitised, old masterpieces that are out of copyright due to age. There were no rules or limitations as to what could be done or imagined. We wanted both our visitors and ourselves to be surprised and get new perspectives on our collections. The remixes that came out of the design challenge were exhibited next to the original artworks over the course of a weekend, as a hack on the museum’s collections, spaces and traditional ways of working.
In my talk, I will argue why it’s part of our strategy as a public museum to be a catalyst for users’ creativity, and how this hinges on our obligation to foster learning and engagement in the arts. I will tell you how the project was received – both by the artists, the visitors, and internally in the organisation. Finally, I will address how the concept of Bildung can be reinterpreted as an act of Building with digitised cultural heritage.
Info about Mix it up! www.smk.dk/en/visit-the-museum/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/exhibition-mix-it-up
Cyril A. Santos
The Lumad Mindanao Exhibition in the National Museum of the Philippines: Encountered Challenges and Negotiations in Curating Ethnographic Collections
The ‘Lumad Mindanao Exhibition’ in the National Museum of the Philippines mainly features material culture of the 13 major Lumad groups represented in the National Ethnographic Collection. It highlights the significance of Mindanao’s (southern Philippines) natural environment and resources to Lumad identity, experiences, encounters and linkages with other groups and foreigners. Lumad, a Visayan word meaning “born from the earth”, refers to the 19 indigenous, non-Moro or non-Muslim groups in Mindanao.
The exhibition was being curated at a time when issues concerning the Lumad were being mainstreamed in popular media. These include issues on group identity, ancestral domain claims, displacement due to privatization of land and increasing human rights violations. Reconfigurations of the curatorial plan throughout the exhibition installation became inevitable as a response to the current Lumad situation. In addition, participatory activities were conducted such as group consultations with the displaced Lumad representatives, preliminary exhibit walk-through with the Lumad, and Lumad participation during the exhibition opening. Curating the Lumad exhibition then became a series of negotiations, consultations, and coordination between the members of the curatorial team, the museum management, the Lumad representatives, and other stakeholders. The outcome is an exhibition validated and highly appreciated by the Lumad representatives who, through participatory processes guided by anthropological concerns, became curatorial partners in curating the exhibition to accommodate the realities and complexities of their contemporary circumstances. The paper for this presentation will document how the National Museum curatorial team negotiated with different stakeholders and circumstances, and how they addressed curatorial challenges to attempt a more balanced view of the Lumad. The presentation will also show how participatory strategies, establishing partnerships, proper coordination and incorporating anthropological methods provide means to give more meaningful and more inclusive outcomes for ethnographic exhibitions. Finally, the presentation will conclude by giving recommendations for future ethnographic exhibitions dealing with similar curatorial challenges.
Exhibition as Tool
Current ideas of the curatorial, understood as an interdisciplinary multifaceted process of public presentations aimed at exploring a set of questions, emphasise its affinity to research. Traditionally, exhibition making involves a process of research that precedes the exhibition, with the exhibition being the result of this research. In contrast, the curatorial considers the exhibition as the space where research takes place, that is, a practice that involves the exhibition as an act of research. How are we to understand the exhibition as a way of conducting research and the kind of knowledge it generates? In a situation characterised by a global eco-crisis, mass migration and the dismantling of the welfare state how can the exhibition function as a place for countering dominant narratives through critical explorations of urgent issues of our time? Looking at a number of recent exhibition projects this paper will discuss what it means to consider the exhibition as research and how it might bring about other ways of knowing the world and countering the current state of affairs.
Hanne Hammer Stien
Overcoming the Divide between Art and Culture History: A Turn towards Photographs and Art within Cultural History Museums
Susan A. Crane has argued that photographs function as a background in cultural history museums. In my research, I claim that the representational crisis and the critique of the linguistic turn among other things have brought photographs to the foreground of the museum institution, blurring the divide between cultural history photography and art photography. This change, I argue, is part of a bigger turn in cultural history museums where photographs and art are gaining more weight. In my paper, I will address the historical divide between art and cultural history, and discuss if the changes within the museum institution are challenging this divide or reinforcing it. In the discussion, I will use concepts as artistic interventions, the knowledge paradigm, and artistic research drawing on different theoretical approaches and different academic disciplines.
Trine Friis Sørensen
Commissioning as a Mode of Inquiry
In recent years, a number of commentators have offered different understandings of the notion of the curatorial, spanning from a constellational activity linking objects, people and spaces (von Bismarck) to a thinking through the activity of curating (Martinon, Rogoff et al.). Although disparate, what binds these views together is that they all pertain to forms of research (O'Neill & Wilson, Sheikh). Sheikh elaborates, "the curatorial is not necessarily something that takes on the form and eventual character of the exhibition, but something that employs the thinking involved in exhibition-making and researching" (2015). Rather than trying to define the curatorial, this paper sets out to perform the curatorial by examining how a basic curatorial act can be considered a mode of inquiry. The focus is, in other words, not the exhibition as a form of research, but the thinking and doing that comes before the exhibition.
The paper turns on a curatorial project that I conducted in relation to the Danish Radio Archive by commissioning two artists, Kajsa Dahlberg and Olof Olsson, to engage with the archive and produce artworks in relation to it. Commissioning can be designated as an act of delegating a particular task to someone else – here that of engaging with the DR Archive – but as this paper will propose it also constitutes a curatorial mode of inquiry into the archive. Fleshing out this two-pronged approach, the paper will unfold as a line of reasoning that explicates the why, the how and the what of the commission. That is to say, the incentive to commission, the workings of the commission and the kind of thinking the commission engenders.
Johan Kjærulff Rasmussen
Mobilizing Participation at Museum of Copenhagen
During recent years Museum of Copenhagen has tested many different approaches to participatory practice. Ranging from the engagement of school children in building exhibitions and managing community gardens (the exhibitions Kids Life and Urban Nature) to having citizens of different professions comment on usage of various artefacts (the exhibition The past beneath our feet). However, due to relocation of the museum (scheduled to open spring 2018) the museum is currently closed and therefore struggling with the issue of finding participatory ground. How and why should Museum of Copenhagen engage and involve citizens when the museum is closed? In this proposal I will approach this challenge from two different perspectives to exemplify the current participatory approach at Museum of Copenhagen.
The first perspective is participation as a field of several parallel conflicts. At Museum of Copenhagen participation is a conflict between being something the institution creates for versus with citizens; a conflict related to the struggle of different participatory rungs of participation (ARnstein, S.; Ladder of citizen participation, 1969). But participation also initiates a conflict between participation as a matter of choice and desire, or something obligatory and created out of necessity. Finally, it is a conflict between recipients – should the institution engage a new audience or try to maintain their core visitors? These conflicts all circle around the matter of establishing a strong why of participation; a question that shapes how (civic) leaders inspire action (Sinek, S.; Start with why, 2009) and through that engage citizens in participatory projects.
Secondly, I see (long-term) participation as a matter of leadership. Without an ability to inspire engagement and action in any given cause, the prerequisite for long-term participation is reduced. This approach is inspired by tools of community organizing and provides tools for motivating citizens, establishing strong communities, and creating change within organizations such as Museum of Copenhagen. I am currently working on creating a History Makerspace within the new location of Museum of Copenhagen. I will use this project as a case-in-development in my presentation.
It’s a Tricky Job. The Profession of Curating and the Problem of Populism
Museums have come out of their shell – using social media, blogs, museum apps, crowd-funding, online collections, participatory art projects, community events, free entrance on specific days, wireless internet on site etc. In fact, the last years have seen a rise of populism against the background of democratisation desires entangled with neoliberal politics. While in the 1970s the battle cry was “a culture for all”, today’s institutions ideally envision “a culture with all”. Inspired by urban protest movements the theoretical conception of a “Right to the Museum” (Bettel, Reitstätter 2015) investigates the overall museum’s claim of being an open, public institution and its implementation in everyday practice. How do museum professionals see their role in this social turn and deal with it in their curatorial practice? Methodologically, the study draws on a hermeneutic analysis of expert interviews, focus groups and statements of curators explaining their positions and perspectives on populism.
Curatorial conflict lines address the problem of accessibility versus additional funding, the discrepancy of different visitor needs as well as the imbalance of necessary efforts and limited resources in the institutional demand to establish and foster relationships with its audience. As one interviewee stated, “in the end the question is to whom you feel responsible”. Unfortunately, the desire to be a democratic institution is in the end often thwarted by the obligation towards the board of trustees, respectively the local politics that provide the financial basis. Or, as is the case in the contemporary art scene, serving the inside crowd dominates holding up museum standards that refer to peers. This situation includes a number of curatorial challenges. Because: It’s a tricky job to appeal to your sponsors, your colleagues and your neighbours at the same time. The talk aims at pointing out answers within institutional approaches and individual curatorial strategies.
Curatorial Strategies for Exhibiting Epistemological Objects
The exhibition is, as stated in the write-up for the conference, a site of cultural exchange. A less fashionable description more current in the hey-day of museums in the 19th century is that it is a place to do research and gain knowledge – often scientific. The two are however, particularly with modern views of how scientific knowledge is produced, not mutually exclusive.
The museum may thus be viewed as a knowledge-generating object. And in the special case of Museums of Science, Technology and Medicine the objects in the exhibition are also made or collected with the explicit aim of generating knowledge – they are epistemological objects. Following ideas of Hans-Jürg Rheinberger and Karin Knorr-Cetina and their concepts of epistemological things and epistemological objects, I will consider ways of curating scientific objects that allow the epistemological functions of the exhibition and the exhibited objects to reinforce each other. I will draw on the example of the exhibition The Body Collected at Medical Museion in Copenhagen, which showed how doctors and medical researchers have collected human bodily material to generate medical knowledge.
The paper furthermore suggests that the approach of epistemic history – of viewing knowledge-making as historically and culturally embedded – may serve to heal the rift between exhibitions that deal with the cultural history of science and science centres that display scientific knowledge in a timeless and supposedly culture-independent fashion.
Lotten Gustafsson Reinius and Robert Willim
Possible Worlds and the Surrealities of Ethnography
In 2014, The Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm invited Robert Willim, a collaboration resulting in the audiovisual performance Possible Worlds as well as an on-going dialogue on museum imaginaries and representation.
Possible Worlds was an attempt to explore notions of ethnographic surrealism and the interplay between the evocation of worlds and situated performance. The notion draws partly on James Clifford’s (1981) statement about ethnographic surrealism as a utopian construct of past and future possibilities. Early ethnographic expedition material was enmeshed with recordings from other trips. Mundane everyday things collide with devotional objects, undefined landscapes and actions as well as the non-place sounds from electronic circuits. The material was mixed through live improvisation and followed by a public debate on temporalities, place and performativity. At present was a panel of experts on popular imaginations and creations of possible worlds. While “the ethnographic” was revealed as a particular and poetic mode, museum objects were liberated from frames of objectivity and distance.
Peter Bjerregaard (PhD) is senior adviser of exhibitions at Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo. His research is mainly concerned with a theoretical re-thinking of the museum institution and with the potential of exhibitions as research. Bjerregaard is co-editor of Materialities of Passsing (Ashgate 2016) and editor of Exhibitions as Research (Routledge, forthcoming).
Wera Grahn is Associate Professor in Gender Studies, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Unit for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at Linköping University. Grahn has vast experience in researching, teaching and publishing in the field of cultural heritage with a focus on gender perspectives. Her academic background is Ethnology and History of ideas, and she earned her PhD in Gender Studies with the dissertation “Know Thyself”: Gender, Historical constructions and representations in a Museum of Cultural History (2006) firstname.lastname@example.org
Tone Hansen is Director of Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK), Oslo. Recently, she co-curated In Search of Matisse, an innovative exhibition based on provenance research investigating the looting of cultural heritage and artworks. Former curator at HOK and scholar at the Academy of Fine Art, Oslo with the project Megamonstermuseum. Editor of the readers Phantom of Liberty: Contemporary Art and the Pedagogical Paradox (2014), We Are Living on A Star (2014), and (Re)Staging the Art Museum (2011).
Donald Preziosi (PhD, Harvard) is Emeritus Professor of Art History & Critical Theory, UCLA, and Distinguished Research Professor. He is the author, editor and co-editor of 14 books on art and architectural history, theory, and criticism, and the interdependence of philosophy, theology, politics, and museology. He has held visiting professorships in the US, Europe, Istanbul, and Australia. His most recent book is Art, Religion, Amnesia: The Enchantments of Credulity (London: Routledge, 2014).
Simon Sheikh (PhD) is a curator and theorist. He is Reader in Art and Programme Director of MFA Curating at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a correspondent for Springerin, Vienna, and a columnist for e-flux Journal, New York. He is currently a researcher for the on-going Former West project, initiated by BAK in Utrecht, and working on a book about art and apocalypse entitled Its After the End of the World.
SPEAKERS AND MODERATORS, PARALLEL SESSIONS:
Katharine Anderson is a historian of science in the Department of Humanities at York University. She is interested in both classic and new approaches to the study of scientific instruments. Publications include: (Anderson et al.) "Reading Instruments: Objects, Texts and Museums" Science and Education (2013); "Coral Jewellery/ Victorian Things: A Forum on Material Objects” (2008). She is currently working on a book on oceans as places of observation in the 1920s. email@example.com
Ahu Antmen, PhD, Associate Professor, is a lecturer of modern and contemporary art at Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts in Istanbul, Turkey. Her recent publications include a compilation of her essays, Bodies with Identities – Art, Identity, Gender and Bare, Naked, Nude – A Story of Modernity in Turkish Painting.
Mattias Bäckström, PhD in History of Science and Ideas, Postdoc Fellow at the Centre for Museum Studies, University of Oslo and has worked as Exhibition Curator. Publications include: “Making things matter: Meaning and materiality in museum displays”, in Nordic Museology, 2015; “Loading guns with patriotic love: Artur Hazelius’s attempts to remake Swedish society” in National museums: New Studies from around the World, 2011. firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Barrett is PhD in Cultural Anthropology. He is curator for Africa collections, National Museums of World Culture, Sweden, and his research is on history of collections; representation of Africa/Africans in museums and popular media. He has published on migration and social history. Curatorial work include The Other Camera; Vodou; and The Storage, a permanent gallery at the Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm. email@example.com
Adam Bencard is currently researcher and curator in the Section for Science Communication at the The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research and at the Medical Museion in Copenhagen. He is curating the exhibition Mind the Gut, winner of the Bikubenfonden Vision 2015 award. Recent publications include “Presence in the museum – On metonymies, discontinuity and history without stories”, Museums and Society, 2014. firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathalia Brichet, PhD, is Postdoc at Anthropology, University of Aarhus. Her research is focused on extractive industries in Greenland and Denmark where she uses fieldwork to collect and exhibit anthropological analyses. She has co-curated exhibitions at the National Museum of Denmark, National Museum of Ghana and Moesgaard Museum in Denmark. With Hastrup she has published “Sensationelle trivialiteter – Museer i vores eksotiske verden” and “Terrestrials in Ruined Landscapes: Potentials in an Anthropocene Era”. email@example.com
Judit Bodor (UK) is an independent curator. Her areas of interest are artists’ archives, event-based curating and residencies. She has worked with artist-led initiatives, galleries, museums and academic institutions internationally since 2000. Currently she is an AHRC-funded doctoral researcher at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales for Aberystwyth University. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mette Boritz, Senior Curator and PhD at the National Museum of Denmark. Her research and daily work is related to museum education and exhibitions. She is particularly interested in studying how engaging multiple senses can be used in combination with museum materiality. email@example.com
Franziska Brüggmann, MA, is a curator and exhibition manager for fine art exhibitions. She is experienced as art educator and exhibition coordinator. She studied philosophy, art theory, curating and museum education in Hildesheim, Barcelona, and Zurich. Since 2014, she is PhD candidate at Zeppelin University: Her research focuses on the influence of institutional critique on the current institutional landscape, exhibition formats and notion of critical curating in the 21st century
Irene Campolmi is PhD candidate at Aarhus University and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art with the project “The Art Museum of the 21st Century. Ethics, Research, and Sustainability in Modern and Contemporary Art Institutions”. She co-organized Between the Discursive and the Immersive: A Symposium on Research in the 21st Century Art Museums, 2015. Publications include: “Contemporary Aesth-Ethics. The Ethical Turn in 21st Century Art Museums” (2016), ICOM the Museum Journal. firstname.lastname@example.org
Masha Chlenova is an art historian and curator specializing in modern art with a focus on the Russian avant-garde. She holds a PhD from Columbia University and has worked at the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim and most recently The Museum of Modern Art, where she co-organized, with Leah Dickerman, Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925. She has published in October and in exhibition catalogs published by MoMA, Guggenheim, Tate Modern and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. email@example.com
Hans Dam Christensen is professor at University of Copenhagen and director of the Danish Centre for Museum Research. His research areas comprise museology, visual culture and cultural communication. Recent publications include "“Plus de figures!”: On Saussure's use of images" (Journal of Visual Communication, forthcoming), "A never-ending story: The gendered art museum revisited" (Museum Management and Curatorship, 2015). firstname.lastname@example.org
Nivi Christensen, MA in Art History from the University of Copenhagen, with a focus on Greenlandic Art and Art Museums. She has published a number of articles on Greenlandic Art, and is a member of the Greenlandic museum organization. Since 2015 she is the head of Nuuk Art Museum. email@example.com
Mathias Danbolt is Assistant Professor in Art History at the University of Copenhagen. He is specialized in contemporary art and performance with a focus on queer, feminist, and antiracist perspectives on art and culture. He is currently researching the effects and affects of Danish colonialism in the field of art and visual culture. Recent publications include articles in Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories (2016), Not Now! Now! Chronopolitics, Art and Research (2014), and re.act.feminism #2: a performing archive (2014). firstname.lastname@example.org
Lydie Delahaye is Adjunct in Film Studies and PhD candidate in Aesthetics at University Paris VIII – Vincennes. Her doctoral research focuses on the shift of the cultural status of documentation from archive to the current curatorial practices in art museums. She graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris and holds a MA in Aesthetics from the Université La Sorbonne. Recent texts have been published in the Exhibition Catalogue of the Pinault Collection (Venice) and in Histoire de l’Art, the Ecole du Louvre’s journal. email@example.com
Livia Dubon is a Florence based art-writer and independent curator. Her curatorial practice investigates themes related to memory and identity. Livia has three Masters Degrees, Museums and Gallery Studies (University of Newcastle-UK, 2009), International Art Management (University of Genoa-Italy, 2006) and Art History (University of Parma-Italy, 2004). She has published in Artkernel, Artribune, Kriticaonline, and Mnemoscape. firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Engberg is an Assistant Professor at Malmö University, Department of Media Technology and Product Development, and an Affiliate Researcher at the Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology (US). Her research interests include digital aesthetics, locative media and media studies. Recent publications include: (as co-editor) Ubiquitous Computing, Complexity, and Culture 2015. email@example.com
Flavia Frigeri is a curator at Tate Modern, where she works on exhibitions and acquisitions. She is the co-curator (with Jessica Morgan) of The World Goes Pop (September 2015 - January 2016). She served as an Assistant Curator on Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs (2014) and The EY Exhibition Paul Klee: Making Visible (2013). She is a PhD candidate at University College London's History of Art department.
Anne Gregersen is postdoc at the Department of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen with affiliation to J.F. Willumsens Museum. Her current research project investigates the phenomenon of artists working as curators within an institutional setting. Recent articles: “Det konceptuelle badebillede”, I Bølgen Blå, (2016), “Om kunstner-kunstsamlinger, et uhierarkisk kulturarkiv og fastholdelsen af fortiden”, Shibboleth, Esbjerg Kunstmuseum (TBP 2016). firstname.lastname@example.org
Lotten Gustafsson Reinius is Professor of Ethnology and Curator, Director at Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm. Her research interests lie at the intersection of expressive culture, media history and new museology. She has published on the sensory biographies of things, the media materiality of collections and exhibitions among other things. Recent exhibitions: Magasinet (The Storage), Fetish Modernity.
Jan Hadlaw is a historian of technology and design in the Department of Design at York University. Her research focuses on the history of modern technological artifacts and the imaginaries that have shaped their design and meaning. Recent publications include “The Modern American Telephone as a Contested Technological Thing, 1920-39” (forthcoming). Her current research examines the role played by design and technology in the performance of Canadian national identity during the 1960s and 70s. email@example.com
Kristian Handberg, PhD, Postdoc with the project Multiple Modernities: World Images and Dreamworlds in arts and culture, 1946-1972 at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, The University of Copenhagen (2015-2018). Ph.D. with the dissertation There’s no time like the past: Retro between memory and materiality in contemporary culture, The University of Copenhagen, 2014. firstname.lastname@example.org
Frida Hastrup, PhD, Associate Professor in Ethnology, the Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen. She is the leader of the research project Natural Goods? Processing Raw Materials in Global Times (funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research’s Sapere Aude programme), with exhibitions as part of its output. It has resulted in co-curated exhibitions at the National Museum of Denmark and at Moesgaard Museum. With Brichet she has published “Sensationelle trivialiteter – Museer i vores eksotiske verden” and “Terrestrials in Ruined Landscapes: Potentials in an Anthropocene Era”. email@example.com
Henrik Holm is Curator at Statens Museum for Kunst (the National Gallery of Denmark). Recent publications include “The Democratic Future of Museums: Reflections on a Participatory Project Named “gipSMK - The Royal Cast Collection Goes to Town” in The International Magazine of The Inclusive Museum (online) 2014); “Eckersbergs natursyn / Truth in Nature” in: En smuk løgn. Christopher Wilhelm Eckersberg, (2015); “Whip it Good. Kunsthistorie i teori og i praksis, når Vesten ikke længere er idealet”, in Quadratura, Skrifter i dansk kunsthistorie, (2016).
Camilla Jalving holds an MA and PhD in Art History and is curator at ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. She is the author of Værk som handling: Performativitet, kunst og metode (2011) and more recently, articles on the artists Randi & Katrine (2015) and Niki de Saint Phalle (2016). firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Kozel is a Professor of New Media with the School of Arts and Culture at Malmö University exploring the convergence between philosophy, dance and digital technologies. She is Project Leader of the Living Archives Research Project. Sole authored books include Closer: Performance, Technologies, Phenomenology (MIT Press 2007) and Social Choreographies: Affect and Encryption in the Performance of Mobile Media (in process).
Rasmus Kjærboe, MA in art history from University of Copenhagen, is PhD fellow at Aarhus University and Ordrupgaard. His PhD project focuses on the development of the early 20th century collection museum of modernist art in Europe and USA. Kjærboe has published on sculpture, Danish modernist art and museum history. He is Vice President of the Danish Association of Art Historians and editor of Kunsthistorisk Bogliste. email@example.com
Marie Laurberg, Curator and Head of Research, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. She has curated a number of shows with contemporary artists, most recently Yayoi Kusama – In Infinity. She was curator of the three years exhibition project Utopia at Arken, with solo presentations of Olafur Eliasson, Katharina Grosse, and Qiu Anxiong. She has co-organized conferences and seminars on curatorial issues, and is co-editor of a special issue of Stedelijk Studies, Between the Discursive and the Immersive (forthcoming). firstname.lastname@example.org
Ida Brændholt Lundgaard is Senior Advisor for Museums at the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces and PhD fellow at Aarhus University. She was Project Manager of The Communication Plan for Danish Museums, 2014-2007, implemented to improve the educational role of Danish museums in society. She was Head of Education, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 1996-2007. Her focus is always on dialogue, multi-vocality and inclusion aiming at promoting cultural democracy. email@example.com
Barbara Mahlknecht is a cultural researcher, curator, and art educator. She currently holds a position as lecturer and researcher at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Her work strongly relates to feminist curatorial practices, the archive and the exhibition as performative spaces, socially/politically engaged curatorial practices as well as critical art education. Recently, she co-curated Uncanny Material. Founding Moments of Art Education (Academy of Fine Art Vienna, 2016) and A Proposal to Call (Kunsthalle Exnergasse Vienna, 2015).
Marie Riegels Melchior, PhD, is Assistant Professor in European Ethnology at the University of Copenhagen. In her research and teaching she focuses on the cultural history of fashion, Danish Fashion 1900-1965, museum studies and fashion in museums in particular. Her recent publications include Fashion and Museums. Theory and Practice (co-edited with Birgitta Svensson, 2014) and Dansk på mode! Fortællinger om design, identitet og historie i og omkring dansk modeindustri (2013). firstname.lastname@example.org
Mette Kia Krabbe Meyer is Research Librarian in the Department of National Collections at The Royal Library in Copenhagen where she conducts research in photography and other images as well as curatorial work. Recent publications include "The Illustrated Contract between Guaman Poma and the Friends of Blas Valera: A Key Miccinelli Manuscript Discovered in 1998" (with Boserup, N.I) in Boserup, N. I. & Adorno, R. (eds) Unlocking the Doors to the Worlds of Guaman Poma and his Nueva corónica (2015). email@example.com
Kirstine Møller, MA student at Sustainable Heritage Management Aarhus University. Project leader, Nuuk Museum, Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq, Greenland.
Sidsel Nelund is Head of Institute of Research and Interdisciplinary Studies at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Her recent articles contribute to the discussion of exhibition analysis (‘Doing Home Works: Extended Exhibitions, Ethnographic Tools, and the Role of the Researcher’ in Critical Arts) and the exhibition as research (‘Home Works’ in Curating Research). Her PhD thesis mapped the concept of knowledge production in contemporary art and she is currently working on the exhibition as both ‘form’ and ‘forum’. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Susanne Neubauer is a curator and researcher. She has curated exhibitions for several institutions in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and Austria and was a lecturer and substitute professor for Art History at Kingston University and HBK Braunschweig. Her recent publications include “Paul Thek in Process” (2012), “Synprozess” / Footnotes for “Parallelism 2”, Ortszeit (2015) and “Maciunas’s Fluxhouses: A Model for Today’s Artistic Economic Autonomies?” In-Residence Magazine #2 (2015). email@example.com
Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn is a research-based artist, currently living and working in Stockholm. In 2011 Nguyễn completed the Whitney’s Independent Study Program, having obtained her MFA and a post-graduate diploma in Critical Studies from the Malmö Art Academy, Sweden, in 2005. She has been awarded many grants and fellowships, and her work has been exhibited internationally. jacquelinehoangnguyen.com
Sabine Dahl Nielsen is a postdoctoral fellow at KØS Museum of Art in Public Spaces and Aalborg University. Her PhD dissertation Art in Urban Public Spaces: Conflicts and Negotiations as Critical Political Practices (2015) was conducted at KØS and Copenhagen University. As part of her PhD she participated in the research network Curatorial Knowledge at Goldsmiths College under the supervision of Professor Irit Rogoff. She is author of Det fotografiske rum (2011) and has contributed to anthologies, exhibition catalogues and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Temi Odumosu is postdoctoral fellow at the Living Archives Research Project. Her international research and curatorial practice is concerned with the visual politics of slavery and colonialism, Africa in the archives, Afro-Diaspora aesthetics, and more broadly questioning how images influence and challenge authentic human recognition. Her upcoming book Africans in English Caricature 1769-1819: Black Jokes, White Humour will be published in the spring of 2016.
Margareta von Oswald is currently doing her PhD at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris and is part of the collaborative research project Making Differences in Berlin: Transforming Museums and Heritage in the 21st Century, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. From “behind-the-scenes”, she looks at practices linked to historical African collections in European ethnographic museums today, focusing on Berlin’s future Humboldt Forum.
Jakob Ingemann Parby is a curator and PhD and currently head of exhibitions in the new Museum of Copenhagen. He has more than 15 years of curatorial experience and has published articles and books on urban history, curatorial practices and the history of migration. In 2015 he defended his PhD dissertation Migration and identity in Copenhagen 1770-1830, planned to be published in 2017.
Merete Sanderhoff is Curator and Senior Advisor in digital museum practice at Statens Museum for Kunst. She has initiated the Sharing is Caring seminars in Copenhagen. She has published substantially in her field, most recently Sharing is Caring: Openness and Sharing in the Cultural Heritage Sector (2014). She serves on several boards, such as the Europeana Foundation Governing Board and Members Council and the OpenGLAM Advisory Board. email@example.com
Cyril A. Santos is Museum Researcher II in the Anthropology Division, National Museum of the Philippines. She has been involved in curating, managing and documenting ethnographic collections since 2009. She is also currently completing her MA in Archaeology at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.
Katarina Stenbeck is a curator currently working on a practice based PhD project on art and eco-crises at the Royal Danish Art Academy. She has previously worked as a curator at Rooseum in Malmö and Den Frie in Copenhagen and as an independent curator with the organisation publik, the exhibition space goloss and most recently bureau publik, a project space for artistic and discursive investigations of life under neoliberal capitalism.
Hanne Hammer Stien is a PhD candidate at Tromsø Museum and a lecturer at Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art/The Arctic University of Norway. She also works as a curator and as an art critic. Her latest publication is Vit at jeg elsker deg: Om kunst og sted (Know that I love you: About art and place) (2014). Her latest curatorial projects are Beyond Horizons (2015), Obsession, and Duty (2015).
Trine Friis Sørensen is curator and postdoc at Kunsthal Aarhus and Aarhus University (funded by the New Carlsberg Foundation). She earned her PhD from University of Copenhagen with the thesis We Can (Not) Work It Out: A Curatorial Inquiry into the Danish Radio Archive (2015). In addition to curating exhibitions in Denmark and abroad, she was co-editor of the anthology A Feast Is… (2013), and has published in academic and art publications, most recently MASKA Performing Arts Journal. firstname.lastname@example.org
Johan Kjærulff Rasmussen is PhD fellow at Department of Asthetics and Communication at Aarhus University. The PhD project is a collaborative project between the university and Museum of Copenhagen and entitled We can be actors, not just spectators. He has worked for a number of years at Roskilde Festival, creating several different user-led and participatory projects. Recent publication: “Participation as Political Practice” (online) 2015. email@example.com
Dr Luise Reitstätter is as a cultural scientist based at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Having worked in the curatorial departments of institutions such as documenta 12 and the Austrian pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia, she builds on a vast experience in creating exhibitions and producing art projects. She holds a doctorate in sociology and cultural studies and recently published a book on the exhibition as potential sphere of action (Die Ausstellung verhandeln, 2015). www.dieangewandte firstname.lastname@example.org
Karin Tybjerg is associate professor at Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen. She curated the exhibition The Body Collected and has written about links between biobanks and anatomical collections. Previously she held a research fellowship at University of Cambridge and worked as head of Modern History and Ethnographic Collections at the Danish National Museum. email@example.com
Robert Willim is a cultural analyst and artist, Associate Professor of European Ethnology. His research deals with themes like digital culture, imaginaries and materiality, and his artworks are positioned close to his practices as a cultural analyst. Several of the works emanate from research questions dealing with imaginaries. More info: www.robertwillim.com