In Search Of A Lost Avant-garde: An Anthropologist Investigates The Contemporary Art Museum by Matti BunzlIn Search Of A Lost Avant-garde: An Anthropologist Investigates The Contemporary Art Museum by Matti Bunzl

In Search Of A Lost Avant-garde: An Anthropologist Investigates The Contemporary Art Museum

byMatti Bunzl

Paperback | September 13, 2016

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In 2008, anthropologist Matti Bunzl was given rare access to observe the curatorial department of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. For five months, he sat with the institution’s staff, witnessing firsthand what truly goes on behind the scenes at a contemporary art museum. From fund-raising and owner loans to museum-artist relations to the immense effort involved in safely shipping sixty works from twenty-seven lenders in fourteen cities and five countries, Matti Bunzl’s In Search of a Lost Avant-Garde illustrates the inner workings of one of Chicago’s premier cultural institutions.

Bunzl’s ethnography is designed to show how a commitment to the avant-garde can come into conflict with an imperative for growth, leading to the abandonment of the new and difficult in favor of the entertaining and profitable. Jeff Koons, whose massive retrospective debuted during Bunzl's research, occupies a central place in his book and exposes the anxieties caused by such seemingly pornographic work as the infamous Made in Heaven series. Featuring cameos by other leading artists, including Liam Gillick, Jenny Holzer, Karen Kilimnik, and Tino Sehgal, the drama Bunzl narrates is palpable and entertaining and sheds an altogether new light on the contemporary art boom.
Matti Bunzl is professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the artistic director of the Chicago Humanities Festival. He is the author of Symptoms of Modernity: Jews and Queers in Late-Twentieth-Century Vienna and Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Hatreds Old and New in Europe.
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Title:In Search Of A Lost Avant-garde: An Anthropologist Investigates The Contemporary Art MuseumFormat:PaperbackDimensions:128 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:September 13, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022641812X

ISBN - 13:9780226418124

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Reviews

Table of Contents

One MCA
Two Jeff Koons ♥ Chicago
Three Fear No Art
Four The Gift
Five Untitled (Curation)
Six Ren

Acknowledgments
Notes
Further Readings
Index

Editorial Reviews

“The pleasure of Bunzl’s engaging account, I suspect, lies . . . in its invitation to peek behind the scenes of an institution that works assiduously to manage its public profile. . . . It stands as a compelling and persuasive set of insights into the struggles that today animate museums of contemporary art.”