Interpreting Art in Museums and Galleries by Christopher Whitehead

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By Christopher Whitehead

In this pioneering e-book, Christopher Whitehead presents an summary and critique of paintings interpretation practices in museums and galleries. masking the philosophy and sociology of artwork, traditions in artwork historical past and paintings exhibit, the psychology of the cultured event and ideas approximately studying and verbal exchange, Whitehead advances significant theoretical frameworks for realizing interpretation from curators’ and viewers’ views. even if no longer a handbook, the booklet is deeply useful. It offers commonly researched ecu and North American case experiences concerning interviews with execs engaged in major state of the art interpretation initiatives. eventually, it units out the moral and political tasks of associations and pros engaged in paintings interpretation.

Exploring the theoretical and useful dimensions of paintings interpretation in available language, this booklet covers:

  • The development of artwork through museums and galleries, within the kind of collections, screens, exhibition and discourse;
  • The ancient and political dimensions of paintings interpretation;
  • The functioning of narrative, different types and chronologies in paintings displays;
  • Practices, discourses and difficulties surrounding the translation of historic and modern art;
  • Visitor studies and questions of authorship and accessibility;
  • The position of exhibition texts, new interpretive applied sciences and stay interpretation in artwork museum and gallery contexts.

Thoroughly researched with instantly useful purposes, Interpreting artwork in Museums and Galleries will tell the practices of paintings curators and people learning the subject.

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Sample text

This is achieved by means of an uncompromising cement screen – a literal ‘responseinviting structure’, which places the visitor in prescribed and limited viewing positions, controlling the field of vision and the textures, tone and colour against which the sculpture can be seen and hiding from view any other objects as well as the mediaeval architecture of the castle interior. Visitors move from a general scopic regime of surveying many objects together or consecutively to another of viewing a single object exclusively, where the invitation is to focus and contemplate.

Or: what constitutes the territory of art? One of the first things to say about museum representations of art is that they have been limited in scope. Partly, this is a consequence of practical and physical questions. The landscape gardens of eighteenth-century Britain may be studied within the disciplinary confines of art history, but they are hard to place as physical objects in the museum building, at least where the museum is itself confined in a single building (other models which permit a focus on distributed objects of large scale, like the ecomuseum, have not been mobilised in relation to art).

Or, in line with ideas associated with the relational aesthetics articulated by Nicolas Bourriaud and others in relation to ‘interactive’ art in the 1990s (Bourriaud 1997; Bishop 2004), a particular social dynamic may be engendered in and generated by the artwork, for, ‘rather than a one-to-one relationship between work of art and viewer [as in the modernist critic Clement Greenberg’s ideal], relational art sets up situations in which viewers are not just addressed as a collective, social entity, but are actually given the wherewithal to create a community…’ (Bishop 2004: 54).

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