Curatorial Practice – Mining the Museum

Reading Paul O’Neil’s chapter on the evolution of curatorial practice, discourse and design, I could not help but think of artist Fred Wilson’s work in 1992 in the Maryland Historical Society aptly named “Mining the Museum” in which he used artifacts found in the museum vault that laid bare the hypocrisies and omissions dominant in art discourse at the time –and present today.  Wilson combed through the museum collection selecting artifacts that he juxtaposed with pieces from the same period that were “hidden” in deep the institution. His selection included a collection of intricately cast silver tea sets (see below) juxtaposed with a set of slave shackles in the center, thus calling into question the exhibition site (a former slave state) and curatorial position of the museum as purveyor of a dominant historical and cultural narrative.     tumblr_mm4ugcZ48r1qjo3peo2_500

I also thought the class might be interested in a critique of an exhibit called Re-Inventing Abstraction at the MoMA a few years ago. It speaks to some of the issues discussed in class the other day about identity and cultural erasure in Guatemala. The work in the exhibition was wonderful, however the curatorial lens was faulty to say the least!   


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