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Cover for Rethinking the Museum and Other Meditations

Rethinking the Museum and Other Meditations

Stephen E. Weil


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In these 19 insightful and frequently witty meditations, Stephen E. Weil examines the purposes and functions of the museum in the late 20th century, proposing museums make encounters with a variety of visitors more central to their operation.

Praise For Rethinking the Museum and Other Meditations

Clearly and engagingly written, even eloquent at times. The author is deeply concerned about the social and cultural significance of museums to the communities in which they are located, and weighs that mission against the narrower consideration of hyper-professionalism. (New York History)

These essays are urbane and timely. They represent a facet of the art world situated somewhere between the cauldron of creation and the distant reserves of aesthetic theorizing. Aestheticians often speak of institutions and their reification of art. Here is an opportunity to consider how that process is accomplished. (Aesthetics And Art Criticism)

Having successfully woven philosophy, the law and the issues and realities facing museums into a stylish mantle, Weil has presented us with a valuable and enjoyable addition to museological writing. (Muse)

Optimistic, idealistic, visionary, energizing, invigorating: These words only begin to describe a book that may change forever your understanding of museums and their potential. . . . Weil's dedication and conviction are contagious, his rhetoric persuasive. Rethinking the Museum is a compelling call to reexamine the purposes and potential of those 'constantly evolving social artifacts' we call museums. (Museum News)

Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 9780874749533, 201pp.

Publication Date: May 17, 1990

About the Author

Stephen Weil was Deputy Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. He served as Adminstrator of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City (1967-1974) and is a member of the New York bar. He was coauthor of the award-winning treatise Art Law and author of the widely acclaimed Beauty and the Beasts (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983).