In recent decades, a vital research field has emerged internationally with regard to 20th-century museum and exhibition history. The past decade’s research on the role of the curator and on the exhibition as a medium has given rise to questions and methodologies that differ from general art history as well as from the interdisciplinary field of museology. The museum as an institution, with its archives, collections, and exhibitions may provide a fruitful platform for research in this area. The Canadian art historian Reesa Greenberg has used the term remembering exhibitions in order to question a history-writing that perceives art exhibitions as isolated points, stations or landmarks in a linear narrative. Rather, she suggests the notion of a web, where previous exhibitions — and our memory of them — may unravel more complex and interwoven historical perspectives.
In the Nordic countries, the field has opened up for projects on local histories where for example Louisiana Museum’s project on so called Multiple Modernities, and Moderna Museet’s on-going research on Pontus Hultén’s work as a curator and museum-director are two examples. With this session, we want to provide a forum where Nordic researchers and practitioners may discuss fundamental issues relating to both theoretical approaches and methodological problems. This session invites papers dealing with meta-reflections on the field as such, as well as case studies on strategic examples. Questions addressed may be, but are by no means limited to:
- Exhibition history in exhibition practice – how may we understand, use, and reflect upon the curatorial method of reconstructing historical shows?
- How may the genealogy of the so called creative curator be understood in a Nordic context?
- Canonization – how may we, on the other hand, understand the rapid canonization of a limited number of art exhibitions and curators?
- The ephemeral medium of art exhibitions – how may we use and validate findings in archives, photographic documentation, interviews, et cetera?