Collecting the New: Museums and Contemporary Art

Collecting the New: Museums and Contemporary Art

Hardback

Edited by Bruce Altshuler

List price $62.41

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  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 229mm x 20mm | 571g
  • Publication date: 26 September 2005
  • Publication City/Country: New Jersey
  • ISBN 10: 0691119406
  • ISBN 13: 9780691119403
  • Sales rank: 334,198

Product description

"Collecting the New" is the first book on the questions and challenges that museums face in acquiring and preserving contemporary art. Because such art has not yet withstood the test of time, it defies the traditional understanding of the art museum as an institution that collects and displays works of long-established aesthetic and historical value. By acquiring such art, museums gamble on the future. In addition, new technologies and alternative conceptions of the artwork have created special problems of conservation, while social, political, and aesthetic changes have generated new categories of works to be collected. Following Bruce Altshuler's introduction on the European and American history of museum collecting of art by living artists, the book comprises newly commissioned essays by twelve distinguished curators representing a wide range of museums. First considered are general issues including the acquisition process, and collecting by universal survey museums and museums that focus on modern and contemporary art. Following are groups of essays that address collecting in particular media, including prints and drawings, new (digital) media, and film and video; and national- and ethnic-specific collecting (contemporary art from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and African-American art). The closing essay examines the conservation problems created by contemporary works - for example, what is to be done when deterioration is the artist's intent? The contributors are Christophe Cherix, Vishakha N. Desai, Steve Dietz, Howard N. Fox, Chrissie Iles and Henriette Huldisch, Pamela McClusky, Gabriel Perez-Barreiro, Lowery Stokes Sims, Robert Storr, Jeffrey Weiss, and Glenn Wharton.

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Author information

Bruce Altshuler is Director of the Program in Museum Studies at New York University and former Director of the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, New York. His books include "The Avant-Garde in Exhibition: New Art in the 20th Century" and "Isamu Noguchi".

Review quote

In this volume of thoughtful essays, curators, conservators, scholars, and others in the museum world address how institutions should collect, exhibit, and care for the new art... [T]he essays by seasoned professionals bring a new dimensions to the museum-going experience. -- Ann Landi, ArtNews This book is a sensitively-edited collection of twelve essays (including a historical introduction by the editor), which addresses the complexity of the problems and issues that Western museums confront in dealing with contemporary art today. With its selection of diverse and intriguing case studies and specific focus on the contemporary art scene, it is an important and welcome addition to one of the primary fields of museum studies concerning the significance of collecting and collections for museums. -- Masaaki Morishita, Museum and Society

Flap copy

"By bringing together such a diverse range of informed voices, this book wonderfully succeeds in suggesting not merely as theory, but with the nitty-gritty feel of reality the very specific considerations that a museum's staff must take into account in determining whether or not to acquire, whether by gift or purchase, any particular work of art. I know of no other English-language publication that has previously addressed this issue with comparable depth or breadth."--Stephen E. Weil, Scholar Emeritus, Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, author of "Making Museums Matter""Particularly well-organized and accessibly written, this book explores the collecting and preservation of contemporary art created in a wide range of media. Its variety of essays, especially those addressing different types of institutions and various spheres of ethnicity and region, provides a very rich, stimulating, and useful introduction to this important topic."--Jeffrey Abt, Wayne State University

Table of contents

Collecting the New: A Historical Introduction by Bruce Altshuler 1 The Right to Be Wrong by Howard N. Fox 15 To Have and to Hold by Robert Storr 29 9 Minutes 45 Seconds by Jeffrey Weiss 41 Breaking Down Categories: Print Rooms, Drawing Departments, and the Museum by Christophe Cherix 55 Keeping Time: On Collecting Film and Video Art in the Museum by Chrissie Iles and Henriette Huldisch 65 Collecting New-Media Art: Just Like Anything Else, Only Different by Steve Dietz 85 Beyond the "Authentic-Exotic": Collecting Contemporary Asian Art in the Twenty-first Century by Vishakha N. Desai 103 The Unconscious Museum: Collecting Contemporary African Art without Knowing It by Pamela McClusky 115 The Accidental Tourist: American Collections of Latin American Art by Gabriel Perez-Barreiro 131 Collecting the Art of African-Americans at the Studio Museum in Harlem: Positioning the "New" from the Perspective of the Past by Lowery Stokes Sims 147 The Challenges of Conserving Contemporary Art by Glenn Wharton 163 Acknowledgments 179 Index 181 Photography Credits 194