The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display
By Ivan Karp
(Smithsonian Books, Paperback, 9781560980216, 480pp.)
Publication Date: May 17, 1991
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Debating the practices of museums, galleries, and festivals, Exhibiting Cultures probes the often politically charged relationships among aesthetics, contexts, and implicit assumptions that govern how art and artifacts are displayed and understood. The contributors—museum directors, curators, and scholars in art history, folklore, history, and anthropology—represent a variety of stances on the role of museums and their function as intermediaries between the makers of art or artifacts and the eventual viewers.
Ivan Karp is National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Liberal Arts at Emory University and director of the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship.
Steven D. Lavine is the president of the California Institute of the Arts.
“By far the most thought-provoking edited volume on museum exhibitions yet to appear.”—American Anthropologist
“Exhibiting Cultures presents a compelling range of theoretical debates that address different kinds of museums, museum practices, museum practitioners, and museum audiences.”—Afterimage
“The book offers a compendium of just what ails the contemporary museum . . . [a topic] that has an important place in the battle to politicize culture.”—Transition
“Provocative. . . . Bolstered by example after example, the essays make it clear that these days, museum curators have entered, as one says, ‘hotly contested terrain,’ where pleasing everyone is practically impossible.”—Art & Auction