Public Art: Thinking Museums Differently by Hilde HeinPublic Art: Thinking Museums Differently by Hilde Hein

Public Art: Thinking Museums Differently

byHilde Hein

Paperback | July 27, 2006

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Public Art acknowledges the trend among contemporary museums to promote participatory and processual exhibition strategies meant to elicit subjective experience. At the same time it valorizes the object-oriented tradition that has long differentiated museums from other institutions similarly committed to public service and the perpetuation of cultural values. To blend and expand these aims, Hein draws upon a movement toward ephemerality and impermanence in public art. She proposes a new dynamic for the museum that is temporal and pluralistic, while retaining a grounding in material things. The museum is an agent, not a repository; and like public art, it interacts constructively with passing and transitory publics. As an actor with social clout, the museum has moral impact and responsibilities beyond those of the individuals that comprise its collective identity. The book should be read by museum workers and students, by arts and foundation administrators, critics, educators, aestheticians, institutional historians and theorists, and by anyone interested in the transmission of cultural concepts and values.
Hilde Hein is Associate Professor of Philosophy, Emerita at Holy Cross College. Her previous books include The Museum in Transition: A Philosophical Perspective (2000) and The Exploratorium: The Museum as Laboratory (1990).
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Title:Public Art: Thinking Museums DifferentlyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:198 pages, 9 × 7.22 × 0.54 inPublished:July 27, 2006Publisher:AltaMira PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0759109591

ISBN - 13:9780759109599

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 1. The Experiential Museum Chapter 3 2. The Private, the Non-private, and the Public Chapter 4 3. Public Art: History and Meaning Chapter 5 4. Innovation in Public Art Chapter 6 5. Fitting Old Museums to a New Paradigm Chapter 7 6. Why a New Paradigm? Chapter 8 7. Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

Hein's exploration of the museum world emphasizes experience and qualifies art as "a process, not a thing," hence her concept of "the museum as a performance in which objects and people participate." Six chapters discuss "The Experiential Museum," "Private, Nonprivate, and the Public," "History and Meaning of Public Art," "Innovation in Public Art," "Old Museums and a New Paradigm," and "Why a New Paradigm." Although her exposition is soundly based in philosophical arguments, Hein illuminates the discourse with examples like Christo's Gates project and the Baltimore Museum of Visionary Art. The reader finds discussions of contemporary developments like "virtual visitors," the uses of electronic technology to extend the accessibility of collections beyond fixed walls. Motivated citizens can "freely rearrange their downloaded treasure to create 'collections' of their own design." Nor does Hein (emer., College of the Holy Cross) neglect the significance of the museum site in its effect on the response to collections. Her writing is frequently poetic, as when she explains that objects can "inspire the museal gaze which ignites the sense of presence." By emphasizing the impermanence of objects, she helps the reader focus on qualities of museums rarely considered elsewhere.