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Museums, libraries, and cultural institutions provide opportunities for people to understand and celebrate who they are, were, and might be. These institutions educate the public and civilize society in a variety of ways, ranging from community events to a single child making a first visit. The Museum Effect documents this phenomenon, explains how it happens, and shows how institutions can facilitate this process.
Beyond Pedagogy: Reconsidering the public purpose of museums explores issues standing at the intersection of public pedagogy, memory, and critical theory, focusing on the explicit and implicit educational imperative of art, natural history, and indigenous museums, cultural centers, memorial sites, heritage houses, and other cultural heritage sites that comprise the milieu of educating, learning, and knowing.
The medium of artist Fred Wilson is the museum. He delves deep into museum collections to expose unexamined assumptions about power, place, privilege, and history. His installations include wall labels, educational materials, lighting, and non-traditional pairings of objects. His work is not only about the objects on display, but about how the whole museum environment can generate meaningful questions about art, history, and the role of the museum in its community. In this interview, Fred Wilson discusses how he works with the objects, places, and people that are part of the museum environment
"Wilson’s intervention was a correction of the museum’s identity in the sense that it made the underlying racism apparent. Using glass cases and neat labeling, Wilson’s installations mimicked the usual methods of museum display but with a twist so that a new voice or persona was created. As he said it himself: “By bringing things out of storage and shifting things already on view, I believe I created a new public persona for the historical society.”
Find More Like This
To find more resources on art museums and authority/agency go to PittCat Classic from the library's homepage, limit your search to the Fine Arts Library, and do a keyword search using keywords such as:
"art museums" AND "authority"
"art museums" AND "agency"
"art museums" AND "purpose"
"art museums" AND "international"
Similar combinations of search terms can be used to find articles within the following databases:
"Performance artists Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Coco Fusco started their “The Couple in the Cage” tour five hundred years after Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas." This performance, which was performed primarily in Western cities and museums over 2 years, critiqued notions "colonialism, primitivism, the myth of the noble savage, exoticism ," and became increasingly more ironic as contemporary museum audiences interacted with the display as if it were an authentic display of another culture's people.