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234 × 165 × 16 mm
184 pages
56 illustrations
01 Feb 2007

What Makes a Great Exhibition? Paula Marincola

Rising attendance at museums, along with increased press coverage in the age of the international biennial and the ‘blockbuster’ exhibition, has translated into a growing interest in how exhibitions are made. The new curatorial studies programmes springing up across Europe and North America often deal with theoretical issues, yet one of the central questions of curating frequently remains unframed: What makes an exhibition great? In this book, fourteen essays by active curators and historians address the issue head-on.

Focusing on the curation of contemporary art in North America and Europe, What Makes a Great Exhibition? includes essays by the prolific curator Robert Storr on the meaning of ‘exhibition’ and ‘exhibition-maker’; Studio Museum in Harlem director Thelma Golden writes on ethnically specific exhibitions; Dia Foundation curator Lynne Cooke shows how to firmly ground rarified aims; Iwona Blazwick details a century of trailblazing at London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery, where she is director; and curator Carlos Basualdo reflects on the need to establish a meaningful critical context for international biennials. Other writers address such issues as the labelling of exhibits, group exhibitions, exhibiting design, video and craft, as well as the way a venue’s architecture can influence the exhibitions it houses. What Makes a Great Exhibition? contains carefully considered answers to numerous questions of practice even as it raises more questions about exhibition-making today.

Stimulating thought about how curatorial objectives mesh with on-the-ground practicalities, this book is vital reading for arts professionals, students of art and curatorial studies, art historians, practising artists and anyone curious about exhibition-making today.

‘A unique compilation of essays by well-known curators and active participants within this field, it is less an anthology and more an exhibition itself . . . Despite the authoritative stance from which these essays stem, together they refreshingly bring the discussion back to the true centre of their work: the artwork itself.’ — Contemporary magazine

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Paula Marincola is Executive Director of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia. She has written art criticism for many prestigious journals, and has edited anthologies on exhibition making and contemporary cultural issues, including Curating Now (2004) and Pigeons on the Grass, Alas (2013). She is the co-editor with Shannon Jackson of a web-based anthology titled In Terms of Performance (2016).

Introduction: Practice Makes Perfect - Paula Marincola
Show and Tell - Robert Storr
In Lieu of Higher Ground - Lynne Cooke
You Talking To Me? On Curating Group Shows that Give You a Chance to Join the Group - Ralph Rugoff
The Unstable Institution - Carlos Basualdo
With Our Faces to the Rising Sun - Thelma Golden with Glenn Ligon
Mies's New National Gallery: Empty and Full - Detlef Mertins
Design and Architecture - Paola Antonelli interviewed by Bennett Simpson
Who's afraid of gift-wrapped kazoos? - Jeffrey Kipnis
Handy-Crafts: A Doctrine - Glenn Adamson
Temple/White Cube/Laboratory - Iwona Blazwick
Making Space for Art - Mary Jane Jacob
Questions of Practice - Mark Nash
Wall Text - Ingrid Schaffner
Afterword - Marian Godfrey
Acknowledgments - Paula Marincola