Contemporary Cultures of Display

Yale University Press

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Emma Barker

Hardcover | 19.7 x 1.9 x 27.3 cm | 266 pp

Yale University Press | 1999 | 9780300077827

This book examines trends in the display of art since the mid-twentieth century, focusing particularly on institutional issues. The contributors present a series of case studies that illuminate the practices of museums, galleries, and exhibitions in Western Europe and the United States and that encourage reflection on the experience of the spectator.

The first section of the book considers the traditional sanctum of art, the museum, and how approaches to display have changed as modern museums have sought to become accessible to new audiences. In the second section, case studies address issues surrounding temporary exhibitions, their dominance of the display of art today, and the implications of this for artists, spectators, and the institutions that stage such exhibitions. The third section considers the wider social context in which art is displayed today and discusses the widespread reliance on urban regeneration projects, with special reference to modern art museums, and the place of heritage in Britain, specifically the cult of the country house. The book concludes with an exploration of the art world in contemporary Ireland and the role of Irish institutions in the production and reception of art.

This is the sixth and last book in the series Art and its Histories, created to accompany the Open University undergraduate course by the same title.


Emma Barker is lecturer in art history at the Open University.

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