Museum Studies brings together artwork by twelve celebrated and influential contemporary artists, all of whom find inspiration in the vocabulary, procedures, and conventions of museum practice. Taking their cue from the essential but often mundane duties of art handlers, conservators, critics, curators, and registrars, the artists in Museum Studies explore aspects of the museum’s functionality that generally remain out-of-sight or unacknowledged.
The artists featured are Joe Amrhein, Richard Artschwager, Don Celender, Thomas Demand, David Diao, Alicia Framis, Elliott Erwitt, Louise Lawler, Glenn Ligon, Julian Montague, Vik Muniz, and David Shapiro.
Shedding light on such necessities as the wooden shipping crate, the salient information affixed to the backs of paintings, the obtuse language used in art publications, and the conservation and repair of artworks, Museum Studies offers a cleverly deadpan take on the “aesthetics of administration.” Taken as a whole, the works on view in the exhibition form a “how-to-guide” for running an established and successful art museum.
“Even when the most dedicated and knowledgeable museum-goers visit, their focus—as it should be—is mainly on the art displayed in the museum’s galleries. Having spent my career as a curator, I know all too well that while the exhibition is the primary end product, it is still only a small part of what a museum is and does. It is the behind-the-scenes procedures that truly fascinate me. Why not pull back the curtain so everyone can feel like an expert?” says Charles Stainback, Director of the Berman Museum and curator of Museum Studies.
Ursinus College – Berman Museum
January 27th – April 3rd, 2015
601 E. Main Street, Collegeville, PA 19426
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