Art and Artifact (Paperback)

The Museum as Medium

By James Putnam

Thames & Hudson, 9780500288351, 216pp.

Publication Date: November 2, 2009

List Price: 34.95*
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“Fascinating examination of the museum’s unconventional role in contemporary art....Highly recommended.”—Library Journal

This book examines one of the most important and intriguing themes in art today: the often obsessive relationship between artist and museum.

From Marcel Duchamp’s “Portable Museum” (Boîte en valise) of the early 1940s to Damien Hirst’s distinctive use of vitrine displays in the 1990s, the artists of the past seventy years have often turned their attention—both creatively and critically—to a reappraisal of the ideas and systems of classification traditionally associated with curatorship and display.

The works included here, accompanied by quotations from the writings of individual artists, offer a wide-ranging coverage of projects by established and emerging figures alike, including Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, Tracey Emin, Hans Haacke, Donald Judd, Olafur Eliasson, and Takashi Murakami. The book has been updated to include recent projects that make use of grand architectural spaces within the museum, as well as those that explore off-site locations and the internet.

About the Author

James Putnam has been a Visiting Scholar in Museum Studies at New York University and Curator of the Contemporary Arts and Cultures Program at the British Museum.

Praise For Art and Artifact: The Museum as Medium

Explores how museum installations can affect the very nature and message of contemporary art.

Amply illustrated… ­like a museum exhibit.

A gratifying survey of how artists experiment with the places where art is shown.

The many illustrations are a fascinating gallery of improbable projects.

An increasingly rare type of art publication: one that is focused primarily on images, and on art… a rewarding exercise in the visual.