Art and artifact
Curator of the Contemporary Arts & Cultures Program at the British Museum, Putnam explores six distinct but interrelated themes in this fascinating examination of the museum’s unconventional role in contemporary art. The book provides a survey of the way museums and their collections have been portrayed and manipulated by contemporary artists and the import this has for the museum’s role as cultural interpreter. Putnam first determines museum iconography, the aura it gives exhibited objects, and its sometimes paradoxical use to elevate the mundane or grotesque. He ultimately reveals that, in the postmodern era, artists have made museums less a site for the passive consumption of ostensibly objective, hierarchical values and more an open forum, stimulating inquiry, discourse, and even controversy. The book closes with an exploration of what the future holds for the museum and how contemporary art is helping to determine its next incarnation. Images of installations, the majority in full color, appear on nearly every page and are accompanied by extensive captions explaining the works’ significance and how each one relates to the theme it illustrates. Highly recommended for collections focusing on museology, culture studies, and contemporary art. Savannah Schroll, Washington, DC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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