Absence and Difficult Knowledge in Contemporary Art Museums: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Absence and Difficult Knowledge in Contemporary Art Museums

1st Edition

By Margaret Tali


174 pages

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Hardback: 9781138054288
pub: 2017-12-15
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This book analyzes practices of collecting in European art museums from 1989 to the present, arguing that museums actualize absence both consciously and unconsciously, while misrepresentation is an outcome of the absent perspectives and voices of minority community members which are rarely considered in relation to contemporary art. Difficult knowledge is proposed as a way of dealing with absence productively.

Drawing on social art history, museology, postcolonial theory, and memory studies, Margaret Tali analyzes the collections of four modern and contemporary art museums across Europe: the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest, the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki, and the Kumu Museum in Tallinn.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Presence of Joseph Beuys and the Struggle Over his Legacy in Berlin

Chapter 2: Absencing and Presencing in Exhibition Narratives

Chapter 3: Collectors’ Space and the Agents of Narration

Chapter 4: The Ludwig Collection in Budapest and the Absent Eastern Europe

Chapter 5: Interrogating the Archival Logic

Chapter 6: Archival Absence

Afterword: Turning Absence into Difficult Knowledge

About the Author

Margaret Tali is Lecturer in Visual Art and Culture at Maastricht University.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Art Museums and Exhibitions

Routledge Research in Art Museums and Exhibitions is a new series focusing on museums, collecting, and exhibitions from an art historical perspective. Proposals for monographs and edited collections on this topic are welcomed.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions / General
ART / Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions / Permanent Collections
ART / European
ART / History / Contemporary (1945-)
ART / Art & Politics
ART / Museum Studies
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Europe / Eastern
HISTORY / Europe / Germany
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
HISTORY / Europe / Scandinavia
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Jewish Studies