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What Makes a Great Exhibition?: Questions of Practice
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Rising attendance at museums, along with increased press coverage in the age of the international biennial and the blockbuster’ exhibition, has translated into a growing interest in how exhibitions are made. The new curatorial studies programmes springing up across Europe and North America often deal with theoretical issues, yet one of the central questions of curating frequently remains unframed: what makes an exhibition great. In this book, fourteen essays by active curators and historians address the issue head-on. Focusing on the curation of contemporary art in North America and Europe, “What Makes a Great Exhibition?” includes essays by the prolific curator Robert Storr on the meaning of exhibition’ and exhibition-maker’; Studio Museum in Harlem director Thelma Golden writes on ethnically specific exhibitions; Dia Foundation curator Lynne Cooke shows how to firmly ground rarified aims; Iwona Blazwick details a century of trailblazing at London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery, where she is director; and, curator Carlos Basualdo reflects on the need to establish a meaningful critical context for international biennials. Other writers address such issues as the labelling of exhibits, group exhibitions, exhibiting design, video and craft, as well as the way a venue’s architecture can influence the exhibitions it houses. “What Makes a Great Exhibition?” contains carefully considered answers to numerous questions of practice even as it raises more questions about exhibition-making today. Stimulating thought about how curatorial objectives mesh with on-the-ground practicalities, this book is vital reading for arts professionals, students of art and curatorial studies, art historians, practising artists and anyone curious about exhibition-making today.
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