Essay: Discourses of Culture and Sites of Interpretation

This post originally appeared on The Third Space: Textiles in Material and Visual Culture, an online exhibition curated by myself for the Institute for Curatorial Practice. 

“Thus confined to a specific place and reduced to a set of taxonomic segments, art is immobilized, stamped as an essence of eternal history.” — Didier Maleuvre, Museum Memories: History, Technology, Art (1999)

The medium of an online exhibition prompts questions about the possibilities and anxieties surrounding digital reproductions.[1] Since the emergence of mechanical means of reproduction, there has been debate over whether the reproduced image can substitute for the original work of art.

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Essay: Rehistoricizing Material and Visual Culture

This post originally appeared on The Third Space: Textiles in Material and Visual Culture, an online exhibition curated by myself for the Institute for Curatorial Practice. 

“It is that Third Space, though unrepresentable in itself, which constitutes the discursive conditions of enunciation that ensure that the meaning and symbols of culture have no primordial unity or fixity; that even the same signs can be appropriated, translated, rehistoricized, and read anew.” — Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (1994)[1]

Historian C.A. Bayly has described the long nineteenth century as one of rapidly developing connections between distant human societies, which simultaneously created hybrid polities, complex forms of global economic activity, and a heightened sense of difference between people.[2] In The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914, Bayly focuses particularly on “global uniformities,” tracing the rise of similar forms of state, religion, political ideologies, and economic life in the nineteenth century. He argues that this process of global integration transformed artistic traditions in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Polynesia. Non-European arts borrowed and appropriated European ideas and techniques, while design motifs and styles from around the world made their way into European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts.
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Internship Update: The Third Space in Material Culture

This blog post originally appeared on The Harold, and is part of a series of essays, opinions, and reviews written by students, faculty, and staff of the Institute for Curatorial Practice.

As an intern for the Institute for Curatorial Practice, I am particularly struck by ICP’s ability to bring a wide range of collections into one conversation. I saw this in action during the ICP’s summer program. I received a graduate fellowship that enabled me to attend the five-week program and to lead a co-curated digital exhibition, BODY [IN/AS] LANDSCAPE. My teammates and I created an exhibition that explores how human forms and activities transform landscapes, and what new landscapes are produced by an artist’s intervention in the landscape. The exhibition draws from several collections, including the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Hampshire College Special Collections, Smith College Museum of Art, the University Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Mead Art Museum. While these collections are part of the Five College Consortium, they remain separate. But the ICP opens up the possibility of bringing them together. After this summer, I felt inspired by the concept of digital exhibitions.

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