‘Contemporary Curating in a Heritage Context’

Part of book or chapter of book English OPEN
Brownrigg, Jenny (2014)
  • Publisher: Museums Etc

My chapter ‘Contemporary Curating in a Heritage Context’ appears in new publication ‘Advancing Engagement’ in ‘A Handbook for Academic Museums’. It details my approach to curating the public exhibitions programme in the Mackintosh Museum, Mackintosh Building, The Glasgow School of Art, from 2009-2014.\ud \ud The Mackintosh Museum, built in 1909, is at the heart of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterwork, The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building. With its high level of architectural detail, influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, and Mackintosh’s fascination with Japanese architecture and culture, the museum is the antithesis of the white cube model.\ud \ud This chapter explores how contemporary curating can engage with a specific historical context, in terms of people, place and collection. It also examines how contemporary art practice, through the commissioning process, can become the bridge between the historical and the contemporary. How can an exhibition echo the unique attitude of the building to enable past, present and future to exist simultaneously? In what ways can curators work to contextualize heritage with contemporary practice, to provide innovative access points for diverse audiences including tourists seeking the historical and academic audiences seeking the contemporary?\ud \ud To establish the background, the chapter begins by broadly describing the conditions of curating exhibition programmes for UK Higher Education Art and Design Institutions. It then defines the context at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and goes on to outline my own curatorial methodologies relating to working within this particular environment.
  • References (26)
    26 references, page 1 of 3

    1. Council for Higher Education in Art and Design (CHEAD) http://www.chead.ac.uk/ overview. The Galleries Network was formed in 2009.

    2. University Museums Group http://universitymuseumsgroup.wordpress.com/ about/.

    3. University Museums in Scotland http://www.umis.ac.uk/about/.

    4. Research Academic Framework http://www.ref.ac.uk/ is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK Higher Education Institutions, with research excellence informing research funding.

    5. The Glasgow School of Art has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees validated by the University of Glasgow. In Scotland, the remaining three higher education art schools have merged over the last eighteen year period with universities. Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, founded in 1892, became part of University of Dundee in 1996; Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, founded in 1885 is now part of Robert Gordon University; and Edinburgh College of Art was the most recent to merge, in 2011, with University of Edinburgh.

    6. Grizedale Arts is an artists' residency and curatorial project which engages with a rural context whilst developing multi-site projects that occur locally, nationally and internationally. I worked as Projects Oficer from 2000 to 2002 following a writer's residency there in 1999. www.grizedale.org.

    7. The Immortals is the name for Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wider peer group, as coined by them.

    8. The Spook School was an initially derogatory name for the Glasgow Four - Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Herbert MacNair, Margaret and Frances MacDonald - as some critics derided their style for incorporating “ghostly” figures in their designs.

    9. The name for a group of figurative painters in Glasgow in the 1980s, including Stephen Campbell, Ken Currie and Peter Howson, who had all been students at The Glasgow School of Art.

    10. Turner Prize winners who have studied at GSA include Douglas Gordon (1996), Simon Starling (2005) and Martin Boyce (2011).

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