Sculpture and the Vitrine: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Sculpture and the Vitrine

1st Edition

Edited by John C. Welchman


304 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138246263
pub: 2016-09-09
Hardback: 9781409435273
pub: 2013-08-27

FREE Standard Shipping!


Vitrines and glass cabinets are familiar apparatuses that have in large part defined modern modes of display and visibility, both within and beyond the museum. They separate objects from their contexts, group them with other objects, both similar and dissimilar, and often serve to reinforce their intrinsic or aesthetic values. The vitrine has much in common with the picture frame, the plinth and the gallery, but it has not yet received the kind of detailed art historical and theoretical discussion that has been brought to these other modes of formal display. The twelve contributions to this volume examine some of the points of origin of the vitrine and the various relations it brokers with sculpture, first in the Wunderkammer and cabinet of curiosities and then in dialog with the development of glazed architecture beginning with Paxton's Crystal Palace (1851). The collection offers close discussions of the role of the vitrine and shop window in the rise of commodity culture and their apposition with Constructivist design in the work of Frederick Kiesler; as well as original readings of the use of vitrines in Surrealism and Fluxus, and in work by Joseph Beuys, Paul Thek, Claes Oldenburg and his collaborators, Jeff Koons, Mike Kelley, Dan Graham, Vito Acconci, Damien Hirst and Josephine Meckseper, among others. Sculpture and the Vitrine also raises key questions about the nature and implications of vitrinous space, including its fronts onto desire and the spectacle; transparency and legibility; and onto ideas and practices associated with the archive: collecting, preserving and ordering.


Classified as 'Research Essential' by Baker & Taylor YBP Library Services

A Yankee Book Peddler US and UK Core Title for 2013

'… the strengths of the book lie in the essays that speak most closely to the history of collections and to mechanisms of artistic and curatorial control… this is a thought-provoking collection of essays, that considers a variety of curatorial, artistic, economic, temporal and sensory aspects of display.' Journal of the History of Collections

Table of Contents

Contents: Subject/object: new studies in sculpture, Lisa Le Feuvre; Introduction, John C. Welchman; Art and commodity: sculpture under glass at the Crystal Palace, Kate Nichols; Through the vitrine: Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God, Tag Gronberg; Magic windows: Frederick Kiesler’s displays for Saks Fifth Avenue, New York in 1928, Barnaby Haran; Between Wunderkammer and shop window: surrealist naturalia cabinets, Marion Endt-Jones; Sculpture in Fog: Beuys’s vitrines, Claudia Mesch; Framed devices: Paul Thek’s Technological Reliquaries, Susanne Neubauer; Unattributed objects: the Mouse Museum, the Ray Gun Wing, and four artists, Genevieve Waller; Fluxus soapbox, Cornelia Lauf; 20th-century display case archive, Daniel Edwards; Cults of transparency: the curtain wall and the shop window in the work of Dan Graham and Josephine Meckseper, Sarah Lookofsky; The transparent signifier: Hirst, invisibility, and critique, Elyse Speaks; Between inside and out, Blake Stimson; Index.

About the Editor

John C. Welchman is Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego, USA.

About the Series

Subject/Object: New Studies in Sculpture

Subject/Object: New Studies in Sculpture

We have become familiar with the notion that sculpture has moved into the 'expanded field', but this field has remained remarkably faithful to defining sculpture on its own terms. Sculpture can be distinct, but it is rarely autonomous. For too long studied apart, within a monographic or survey format, sculpture demands to be reintegrated with the other histories of which it is a part. In the interests of representing recent moves in this direction, this series provides a forum for the publication and stimulation of new research examining sculpture's relationship with the world around it, with other disciplines and with other material contexts.

The Henry Moore Institute, a centre for the study of sculpture, has developed this series. A part of the Henry Moore Foundation, the Institute is an international research hub located in the vibrant city of Leeds where Henry Moore began his training as a sculptor.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Sculpture & Installation