Museums and Art History Study Day – Part 1: Introduction

The speakers consider the extent to which museums influence which artists are written into history and how art critics and historians influence museum curators’ decisions. In their discussions, the speakers also deal with the ethics of curating, collecting, art history and criticism.

Museums and Art History Study Day – Part 2: Steve Edwards

Session 1: Displaying Modern Art: Speaker: Steve Edwards, Lecturer in Art History, Open University

Steve Edwards introduces the Open University programme ‘Displaying Modern Art’, which was made for the course AA318: Art of the Twentieth Century. This programme focuses on the previous displays at Tate Modern and features interviews with Tate curators as well as some of their critics. By showing the previous displays at Tate Modern this session will provide a basis for informed discussion of the current arrangement of the collection.

Further Reading

Contemporary Cultures of Display, edited by Emma Barker, Yale U.P. 1999

Museums and Art History Study Day – Part 3:Nigel Warburton

Session 2: Juxtapositions: Speaker: Nigel Warburton, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Open University

Art galleries select and display material objects, typically unique works, in specific locations. Viewers experience these, consciously absorbing curators’ interpretations from descriptions and captions, often forearmed with preconceptions about what they are seeing. Particular juxtapositions affect the viewer in a range of ways many of them semi- or pre-conscious. Philosopher Nigel Warburton considers some of the issues raised by juxtaposition using examples from the recent Tate Modern re-hang.

Museums and Art History Study Day – Part 4: Frances Morris

Session 3: Tate Modern – A Case Study Speaker: Frances Morris, Curator and Head of Displays, Tate Modern

This paper reviews the controversial opening display of the permanent collection at Tate Modern which embraced a thematic, as opposed to chronological structure, as well as the principle of rotating displays. It discusses the recent rehang of the collection which departs from the opening display in significant ways while it also continues to address the same challenges and builds on and develops a number of its principles. Rehangs allow curators and visitors to revisit the material objects in the collection enabling new experiences and interpretations to emerge. Ideas and practices generated by artists, by exhibitions, within art history and related disciplines as well as from the wider socio-economic and political realms provide the intellectual context for generating new models and types of display at Tate Modern.

Further Reading

Strategies of Display: Museum Presentation in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Visual Culture, Julia Noordegraaf, Rotterdam 2004

Capital, A project by Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska, Tate Publishing 2001

The Museum as Muse, Kynaston McShine, New York, MOMA 1999

Tate Modern: The Handbook, edited by Frances Morris, Tate Publishing 2006

Museums and Art History Study Day – Part 5: The Guerrilla Girls

Session 4: The Guerrilla Girls: Speakers: Kathe Kollwitz and Frida Kahlo, The Guerrilla Girls

We’re feminist masked avengers in the tradition of anonymous do-gooders like Robin Hood, Wonder Woman and Batman. How do we expose sexism, racism and corruption in politics, art, film and pop culture? With facts, humour and outrageous visuals. Our work has been passed around the world by our tireless supporters. We’ve appeared at over 90 universities and museums in recent years, as well as in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Bitch, Mother Jones and Artforum; on NPR, the BBC and CBC; and in many art and feminist texts. We are authors of stickers, billboards, many, many posters and other projects, and several books including The Guerrilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art. We could be anyone; we are everywhere.

Further Reading

Museums and Art History Study Day – Part 6: Plenary Discussion

Plenary Discussion

At this study day leading curators and art historians discuss the relationship between exhibitions, museum collections and art history