Photo: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 1966.
Photo: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 1966.

Curating the Contemporary:
An exhibition history of the museum of modern art as a new Bildung institution

Re-reading art history with a focus on exhibitions bring new understandings of the configuration of contemporary art and the changing role of its central institutions. This research can raise many questions – and provide many answers – to undiscovered aspects of Danish and international art history. Our aim is to investigate, from the postwar era until today, the dynamic interplay between the museum and the curated thematic exhibition, the rethinking of the museum in relation to the contemporary (art), and the reimagining of the museum as a Bildung institution.

Research activities

With a program of research activities the project will examine the changing role of the central institutions in the Danish art world, primarily the curatorial agency and international collaborations of Louisiana and the visions for a national gallery of contemporary art at Statens Museum for Kunst.

Combining research in Exhibition Histories and museology we investigate the complex character of the exhibition and its special relationship to the contemporary, in both academic and museal research environments. The project contributes to the developing field of exhibition research in the Nordic context. 

This research project is hosted at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies and SMK – National Gallery of Denmark and is funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research (2019-2021).






Name Title Phone E-mail
Kristian Handberg Assistant Professor +4520651158 E-mail
Malene Vest Hansen Associate Professor +4535329291 E-mail



Malene Vest Hansen, PI, associate professor
PhD in Art History


3rd Workshop

International conference:
Curating the Contemporary in the Art Museum,
The conference has been postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis. More information to come.
Read more.

Past activities

Open lecture: A Curatorial History from the Cold War
With Anthony Gardner (Head of School, Ruskins School of Art, Oxford University).
November 28 2019, 14:00-16:00
Read more.

2nd Workshop:
Exhibition Histories
With Anthony Gardner (Oxford University).
Copenhagen, November 28-29, 2019

Open lecture:
Independence? Lawrence Alloway as critic and curator 1955-1985
By Courtney J. Martin (Chief Curator, DIA Arts Foundation, New York).
Copenhagen, February 21-22, 2019.
Read more.

Kick-off Workshop: 
The Art World of the Contemporary in the 1960s
With Courtney J. Martin (Chief Curator, DIA Arts Foundation, New York).
Copenhagen, February 21-22, 2019.
See programme (pdf).