‘Contemporary Curating in a Heritage Context’
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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.
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