The Contemporary Museum issues a challenge to those who view the museum as an artefact of history, constrained in its outlook as much by professional, institutional and disciplinary creed, as by the collections it accumulated in the distant past. Denying that the museum can locate its purpose in the pursuit of tradition or in idealistic speculation about the future, the book asserts that this can only be found through an ongoing and proactive negotiation with the present: the contemporary.
This volume is not concerned with any present, but with the peculiar circumstances of what it refers to as the `global contemporary' - the sense of living in a globally connected world that is preoccupied with the contemporary. To situate the museum in this world of real and immediate need and action, beyond the reach of history, the book argues, is to empower it to challenge existing dogmas and inequalities and sweep aside old hierarchies. As a result, fundamental questions need to be asked about such things as the museum's relationship to global time and space, to systems and technologies of knowing, to `the life well lived', to the movement and rights of people, and to the psychology, permanence and organisation of culture.
Incorporating diverse viewpoints from around the world, The Contemporary Museum is a follow-up volume to Museum Revolutions and, as such, should be essential reading for students in the fields of museum and heritage studies, cultural studies, communication and media studies, art history and social policy. Academics and museum professionals will also find this book a source of inspiration.
Simon Knell is Professor of Museum Studies and the senior academic in School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. He has also acted as Head of Department and Dean of Arts.
Contents List of Figures List of Plates Notes on Contributors Preface Introduction Museums for the global contemporary PART I: A WORLD OF EQUALS 1 Modernisms Curating art's past in the global present Simon Knell 2 Indigenisation Reconceptualising museology Conal McCarthy 3 Islam Islamic art, the Islamic world - and museums John Reeve 4 Xenophobia Museums, refugees and fear of the other Andrea Witcomb 5 Diplomacy Museums and international exhibitions Da Kong PART II: PRESENT PASTS 6 Transience Curating ephemeral art Stacy Boldrick 7 Performances Contemporary encounters in historic spaces Romina Delia 8 Transhistoricism Using the past to critique the present Annette Loeseke 9 Pasts Authoring national histories in the contemporary city Cintia Velazquez Marroni PART III: WHO WE ARE 10 Disability Museums and our understandings of difference Richard Sandell 11 Contact Framing prostitution in a city museum Annemarie de Wildt 12 Small wins Tactics for the contemporary museum Viviane Gosselin 13 Anxiety Unease in the museum Jennifer Walklate