Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: From the Art Historical Canon to the ‘Post-Collection’ Museum: Collections as Collectivities in Western European Museums of Modern and Contemporary Art, 2013-20
Authors: Robinson, Alistair
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: What are modern and contemporary art? Over the last decade, museums of modern art across Western Europe have answered these questions in entirely new ways. What changed, and why? In museology, attention has focused on what a museum is, or should be. What museums’ collections have become remains an untold story and unchallenged. Yet the very concepts of modern and contemporary art have been determined by museums’ historicization of them, through their collection displays. In Western Europe until after 2000, most museums of modern art followed MoMA’s linear evolutionary model of successive art movements originating in Paris and Manhattan. Since 2013, these same museums’ collections have expanded their concept of art by: incorporating different media and disciplines; extending its geopolitical scope; forwarding different hypotheses about what constitutes the modernity of modern art. My key finding is that until the last decade, the MoMA model held in equilibrium three different ideals of modernity. Three case studies illuminate how different museums have isolated and exemplified one ideal alone. Tate Modern has valorised modernism’s internationalist character; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam has emphasised its interdisciplinarity; Museum Folkwang, Essen has focussed on the ideal of artworks own rather than authors’ autonomy. My conclusion is that by creating new forms of display order to account for the nature and trajectory of art differently, none of their displays now corresponds to the previous conceptualisation of collections in European museology. Each of their governing orders instead corresponds to a different type of human collectivity. The thesis identities these forms of order in relation to a specific collectivity, and specifies their politico-philosophical co-ordinates and governing value scheme. Reconceptualising the very basis of what museum collections are has ramifications both for their own future, and for every future attempt to rethink the dominant history of modern and contemporary art.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
RobinsonA2022.pdfThesis6.16 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
dspacelicence.pdfLicence43.82 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.