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The museum on show

Le musée en scène

A critical history of display, 1969-2019

Regards critiques sur la muséographie (1969-2019)

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Published on Friday, November 22, 2019 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

Over the last fifty years, museum professionals and academics have paid increasing attention to the question of display and placement in museums and collections. A number of museums have proposed innovatory displays. The time has come to step back and take stock of these various debates and discussions of the last fifty years and then to encourage debate and reflexion on new perspectives for museums and collections in the years to come. The conference will address issues surrounding the display of objects in a variety of museums and collections.

Announcement

Argument

Over the last fifty years, museum professionals and academics have paid increasing attention to the question of display and placement in museums and collections. A number of museums have proposed innovatory displays. Others have turned to the past, offering more or less exact reconstructions of important early temporary exhibitions. In 2006, the Orangerie in Paris recreated Les peintres de la réalité, a show curated by Paul Jamot and Charles Sterling in 1934, while in 2013, Germano Celant, Thomas Demand and Rem Koolhaas revisited in Venice Harald Szeemann’s iconic When attitudes become form (Berne, 1969). Some museums have decided to reconstruct some parts of their earlier presentation of the permanent collections, such as the Musée Joseph Denais de Beaufort-en-Vallée (reorganised in 2011) which includes an evocation of its early curiosity cabinet, or the Musée des Beaux-arts et d’archéologie de Besançon, which decided to include some of the brutalist scenography of the 1970s when it was revamped recently. A number of research projects have analysed how display techniques have influenced viewing practices in the museum; others have tended to concentrate on the history of museum displays over the course of time, identifying the main currents of thought at work. The 1970s were marked by debates opposing ‘traditional’ museology and ‘new’ museology; the advocates of the ‘new’ museology worked closely with concepts drawn from the humanities and the social sciences, more particularly sociology, semiology and Visual studies. Nowadays this has extended to encompass new theories from the field of the neurosciences as well as virtual reality.

The Louvre Museum has contributed to the debate over the years, particularly since the important transformations carried out at the end of last century and the construction of the pyramid in 1989. The French Ministry of Culture has encouraged ambitious architectural schemes for museums during this same period; these schemes aim to provide spaces thatfacilitate the display of art and artefacts and thereby make them more accessible to the wider public. Accompanying these important changes there has been another significant development – architects and scenographers have become increasingly important partners in exhibition conception and design. New tendencies and theories are constantly emerging. The time has come to step back and take stock of these various debates and discussions of the last fifty years and then to encourage debate and reflexion on new perspectives for museums and collections in the years to come.

The conference will address issues surrounding the display of objects in a variety of museums and collections drawn from many disciplines, traditions and countries, including (but not restricted to) museums of archaeology, fine arts, contemporary art, decorative and industrial arts, natural history, ethnography, civilisations and societies. Modern and contemporary art have radically modified exhibition practices: their role in the development of new styles of presentation will be examined, as will visitors’ changing attitudes towards objects, display, the museum setting, and the museum visit.

By means of several case studies – of national and international museums and collections, ranging from traditional to more experimental institutions – we hope to identify and analyse a number of important theoretical and practical approaches that have influenced thought about and work in museums and collections over the last fifty years. Permanent or temporary? – the question of time is often an important factor when defining display strategies. Other factors – be they economic, technical, spatial or others (for example security) – must also be taken into account by both designers and project managers when planning an exhibition. These and other questions will be addressed during the conference.

Communications on one of the four following themes are invited:

  1. Objects and discourses: articulating the display.
  2. The different actors involved.
  3. Going beyond words: the art of exhibiting.
  4. The visitor and the show.

The organisers’ aim in planning this conference is to encourage the renewal of the critical discourse concerning the museum, its public role and the constraints within which its directors and curators have to work.

As far as possible, the organisers should like to encourage contributions from and debate between professionals who deal with exhibitions and display in the course of their work and theoreticians who are working on the subject. Case studies, analyses of the working relationship between architects and museographers, curators and exhibition makers are welcome, as are studies, research or field reports relating to and analysing the principal issues of the conference’s four main sections. The main period under consideration is the last half-century, but historical studies that shed light on our contemporary practices will also be welcome.

Submission guidelines

Contributions from students and young researchers interested in museums are encouraged.

Deadline:Please send proposals (400 words max.) for a 20-minute paper in English or French to: cecilia.hurley-griener[a]ecoledulouvre.fr or colloques[a]ecoledulouvre.fr

before December 16th 2019.

Travel and hotel costs will be met by the organisers.

Organisers

  • Cecilia Hurley (Research team, Ecole du Louvre / Head of Special Collections, University ofNeuchâtel)
  • Françoise Mardrus ( Centre Dominique-Vivant Denon, Musée du Louvre)

Scientific committee

  • Bruce Altshuler (Director, Museum Studies Program, New York University)
  • Laurence Bertrand-Dorléac (professor, art history, Sciences Po; professor, Ecole du Louvre)
  • Blandine Chavanne (conservatrice générale du patrimoine; professor, Ecole du Louvre)
  • Octave Debary (professor, Paris Descartes)
  • Cécile Debray (conservatrice générale du patrimoine, director, Musée de l’Orangerie)
  • Cécile Degos (scenographer)
  • Philippe Durey (conservateur général du patrimoine, former director of the Ecole du Louvre)
  • Dominique de Font-Réaulx (conservatrice générale du patrimoine, director of mediation and cultural programming, musée du Louvre)
  • Jérôme Glicenstein (professor, Paris 8) Thierry Leviez (head of scenography, ENSBA)
  • François Mairesse (professor, Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle; professor, École du Louvre)
  • Néguine Mathieux (conservatrice du patrimoine, director of research and collections, musée du Louvre)
  • Marielle Pic (conservatrice générale du patrimoine, director of the Oriental Antiquities department, musée du Louvre)

Places

  • entrée par le jardin du Carrousel - Ecole du Louvre, Palais du Louvre, Porte Jaujard, place du Carrousel
    Paris, France (75001)

Date(s)

  • Monday, December 16, 2019

Keywords

  • musée, exposition, muséographie, collection, musée, dispositif, pratique, expographie

Contact(s)

  • Cecilia Hurley Griener
    courriel : cecilia [dot] hurley-griener [at] ecoledulouvre [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Mathilde Ledur
    courriel : mathilde [dot] ledur [at] ecoledulouvre [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« The museum on show », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, November 22, 2019, https://calenda.org/707027

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