The Archive and the Museum: framing contemporary art practice, Engage Journal

This article, titled ‘The Archive and the Museum: framing contemporary art practice’ was published in Engage Journal 31: The Past in the Present in December 2012.

It examines the ways in which artists use appropriated curatorial devices to examine the relationship between past and present.

Abstract:
The archive and museum have been the subjects of artistic exploration in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, from Claus Oldenburg’s Mouse Museum (1965 – 77) to Grayson Perry’s recent exhibition Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman (2011). Museum practices are exploited and subverted not only to challenge the institution, but to also create the effect of a mimesis, whereby the contemporary mimics the apparatuses of display, which in turn bestows some of the aura of the historical artefact upon the artwork.  In this article I examine the ways in which the creative appropriation of museological and curatorial tools, such as labels, vitrines, plinths and archival modes of presentation, sets up a relationship between the past and the present.

Engage Journal is the international journal of visual art and gallery education. Each edition of this twice-yearly publication focuses on a separate theme to form a definitive collection of work on all aspects of visual art and gallery education. The article is available here.

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