© 2014 – Routledge
Critical Practice: Artists, Museums, Ethics is an ambitious work that blurs the boundaries among art history, museum studies, political science and applied ethics. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to represent key developments in institutional critique as they impact museums.The book elucidates the museological and ethical implications of institutional critique, providing a much needed resource for museum studies scholars, artists, museum professionals, art historians and graduate students worldwide who are interested in mapping and unpacking the intricate relationships among artists, museums and communities. It argues that institutional critique is, at heart, a museological enterprise committed to creating reconciliations between museums and their publics. The volume will show how artists are uniquely positioned as both museum insiders and outsiders to encourage reconciliation.
Critical Practice demonstrates how and why museums are drawn to institutional critique as reconciliation at pivotal moments in institutional and social history. By analyzing an international group of case studies, charting their attempts at reconciling museums and communities, it identifies key issues that institutional critique interrogates. In so doing, the book illuminates both the collaborative and contentious possibilities of these projects. Critical Practice is the first book on institutional critique informed by current debates in museum ethics and brings together a diverse range of literature to make it an invaluable resource for students of Museum Studies and Art and Gallery Studies.
Part One Theories and Histories 1. Institutional Critique as Reconciliation 2. Setting the Stage Part Two Artists and Institutions 3. Insider/Outsider 4. The Museum and Moral Agency Part Three Issues, Projects and Reconciliations 5. Perception and Prejudice 6. Stewardship of Collections 7. Shared Authority Conclusions The Future of Institutional Critique
Museums have undergone enormous changes in recent decades; an ongoing process of renewal and transformation bringing with it changes in priority, practice and role as well as new expectations, philosophies, imperatives and tensions that continue to attract attention from those working in, and drawing upon, wide ranging disciplines.
Museum Meanings presents new research that explores diverse aspects of the shifting social, cultural and political significance of museums and their agency beyond, as well as within, the cultural sphere. Interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and international perspectives and empirical investigation are brought to bear on the exploration of museums’ relationships with their various publics (and analysis of the ways in which museums shape – and are shaped by – such interactions).
Theoretical perspectives might be drawn from anthropology, cultural studies, art and art history, learning and communication, media studies, architecture and design and material culture studies amongst others. Museums are understood very broadly – to include art galleries, historic sites and other cultural heritage institutions – as are their relationships with diverse constituencies.
The focus on the relationship of the museum to its publics shifts the emphasis from objects and collections and the study of museums as text, to studies grounded in the analysis of bodies and sites; identities and communities; ethics, moralities and politics.