My thesis is an interpretive case study of the exhibition Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis (Tate Modern, 1 February – 29 April 2001). It examines a variety of issues pertaining to the making of institutional modern and contemporary art exhibitions in a Western urban context today. It is concerned with exhibition studies’ methodology, the reciprocity between the art institution and the city, and the relationship between the art institution and the independent curator. With regards to methodology, I propose various readings of an exhibition that fall under two types of knowledge, namely visible and invisible knowledge. The former refers to all aspects of the exhibition that are seen in the public domain, while the latter considers not immediately accessible information about the exhibition, such as archival material and oral history. I also examine the mutual relationship between the city and the institution through the instrumentalization of the exhibition by city politics, and the correlative micro and macro effects. I thus link the exhibition to a passage from an industrial to a post-industrial economy, New Labour politics and the competition of cities in a worldwide urban network. Within that framework I analyse associated issues, such as London’s urban regeneration and cultural tourism, city branding, changing city demographics, the link between the institution, the city and governmental agendas, and the ‘world city’ race. Finally, I question the changing relationship between the art institution and the independent curator. I reflect on the advantages and limitations of curatorial practice in the context of that relationship by considering the exhibition as a platform for the concurrent expression of both personal and collective curatorial interests, and the exploration of canonical versus contemporary approaches. I conclude that an in-depth study of a contemporary exhibition on these grounds allows for important insights to be gained that contribute to the fields of curatorial and exhibition studies, as well as to urban theory.