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(Inter)national identities and the promotion of modern art

Horton, Ian (2010) (Inter)national identities and the promotion of modern art. In: Displaying Word and Image: The Museum and the City: Placemaking, Branding, Identity, 04 - 06 June 2010, Belfast, Ireland. (Unpublished)

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Horton, Ian

The period immediately following World War II was difficult for the Stedelijk Museum, as with many other art museums in Europe, because of the challenge of responding to changed socio-political circumstances, the potential publics these new circumstances suggested and the scant resources available. In exploring these broad themes this paper will focus on the promotion of exhibitions of modern and contemporary art at the Stedelijk Museum in the period 1938 to 1962. It will examine publicity materials produced for these exhibitions, the visual and typographic languages they employed and the role these materials played in the reception of both modern and contemporary art.

Willem Sandberg was the director of the Stedelijk Museum from 1945 to 1962, a period in which it went from provincial obscurity to international renown. Sandberg is seen as central to this change through both his collection policy and the range of temporary exhibitions he organised at the museum. There were tensions evident in both these spheres between the nationalist remit of the museum to serve its metropolitan audience and Sandberg’s concern to reflect international developments in contemporary art. In addition to these curatorial decisions Sandberg was also responsible for the design of most of the promotional materials for the museum. It is suggested that these publicity materials also visually and typographically reflect this tension between the national and international identities of the museum and that this would have been evident to the museum’s potential publics.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

This conference brought together word and image, as well as literary scholarship, art history and theory, art practice, curatorial practice, museology, and visual culture, in order to address the interrelationship between word & image and display.

The questions addressed included: how does the art exhibition function as mediator of literature? Which approaches to Word and Image are specific to curators or museum practitioners? How do Word and Image studies theorize, inform or imply display? The conference wished to investigate the use of text/writing in and surrounding exhibitions, and the semiotics of museums' visual identities. How do competencies interact in the tri-disciplinary field between (1) art/art history/theory, (2) museum studies/curatorial practice and (3) literary studies? How are competencies acquired, and how do policies and funding structures enable work in this field?

What role does the museum play in the construction of identity in the contemporary city? How is the visual identity of the museum connected to themes such as city branding, placemaking and memory in the urban environment. This session invited papers that examine the interplay of the museum and its urban environment, with a particular emphasis on the role played by text and image in forging this connection. Cities such as Glasgow and Bilbao have used high-profile museums as a means of addressing problems and promoting urban regeneration. Other cities such as Vienna and Berlin have addressed issues of urban memory and the decimation of historic Jewish populations through their museums. How do these institutions use word and image to communicate their relationship with the host city and what do they represent in terms of the politics of space and place? How do museums contribute to the branding of the contemporary city and do they have a role to play in emphasising the local sense of place or genius loci in the globalised urban environment?

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: contemporary art practice, environment, museums
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: June 2010
Related Websites: http://www.iawis.org/conferences.php?op=iawissp
Event Location: Belfast, Ireland
Projects or Series: Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2011 14:48
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2011 14:48
Item ID: 4399
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/4399

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