Spring 2011

"Art and its Display" in the Twentieth Century

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-92


Lindsay Harris (Section 05)


This seminar examines the history, theory, and practice of displaying art to the public in the twentieth century.  The course begins with an overview of the innovative exhibition techniques developed by the modern avant-garde, followed by an investigation of continuity and change in art exhibition practices since the 1960s.  Issues we will discuss include the diverse contexts in which art is displayed, such as museum galleries, public spaces, and virtual realms; the evolving motivations for such displays; and the ways in which modes of exhibition change our interpretation of art.  We will also consider the roles art exhibitions play in our world today, as arbiters of history and culture but also as catalysts for controversy, and the expanded function of the museum, from a home or repository for the arts to a source of artistic inspiration and activity.  Students will regularly lead class discussions on assigned readings, and a short writing assignment will incorporate exhibitions of contemporary art at Mass MoCA and other nearby museums.  Students will present the results of a research paper on a particular exhibition or series of exhibitions, or on the role of the museum as "muse" in contemporary art.  Limited to 12 students.

If Overenrolled: Preference will be given to seniors and to art history majors.


2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 20112018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 20112018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 20112018-19: Offered in Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 20142018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Fall 2012