California State University Long Beach, CA
School of Art
This course surveys historical and contemporary issues in the exhibition and display of art and material culture. The course explores the theory and practice of exhibition production, focusing on the following subjects: the history of collections; the emergence of the modern museum; typologies of exhibition; the rhetoric of exhibition making; art world economies; the role of the curator; the politics of publicity; the global traffic in contemporary art.
The course is structured in three sections. The first will introduce students to important issues in the history and theory of exhibitions. We will survey a range of modern display formats, including national museums, natural history museums, and international exhibitions, before turning our attention to the history of modernist and avant-garde art exhibitions. We will then examine various critical analyses of the museum exhibition and the institution of art. The second section of the course will consist of case studies of four important contemporary exhibition formats: the art fair, the biennial, the gallery, and the alternative space or project. Each of these course sessions will involve a visit to a representative exhibition, either in person or online. The final section is devoted to the complex and increasingly important problem of globalization. Here, we will consider the re-curation of ethnographic collections, the establishment of global museum initiatives, the use of postcolonial archives, and the turn toward “global modernism.”