The Public Object: Facing Contemporary Challenges in the Art Museum
February 01, 2008
10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Today's museums face the challenging task of balancing traditional, object-based demands with contemporary, audience-driven ones. Many things are at stake, including the public's sense of engagement with art, the status of museum-based scholarship, and the integrity of the object. These matters concern not just museum professionals, but critics, academics, artists, and museum visitors.
"The Public Object" takes as its starting point the question of whether the
primary responsibility of museums is to audiences and their values or to the
objects themselves. Participants will explore, through formal presentations
and discussion, how collections of historical objects can work as thinking
spaces for the present and future.
"The Public Object" is organized by the Walters Art Museum and the Program in
Museums and Society at Johns Hopkins University.
Morning session (10 a.m.-noon):
Stephen Campbell, Chair, Department of the History of Art, Johns Hopkins
Peter Parshall, Curator of Old Master Prints, National Gallery of Art,
Washington, D.C., "The Disembodied Object: A Brief History,"
Elizabeth Rodini, Associate Director, Program in Museums and Society, Johns
Hopkins University, "Whose Art Museum? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives"
Afternoon session (2-5 p.m.)
Eik Kahng, Curator of 18th and 19th-Century Art, Walters Art Museum,
"Painting as a Visual Art: Should It Ever Be Heard, as Well as Seen?"
Martina Bagnoli, Associate Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, Walters Art
Museum, "The Implications of Global Demand for Western Culture"
Ivan Karp, Director of Center for Public Scholarship, Emory University,
Summary and response: "The Object and Its Public: An Anthropologist's
Reception (5:30-7 p.m.)
To register (conference is free) go to:
The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.