On the Museum's Ruins

Front Cover
MIT Press, 1993 - Art - 348 pages
With photographs by Louise Lawler

On the Museum's Ruins presents Douglas Crimp's criticism of contemporary art, its institutions, and its politics alongside photographic works by the artist Louise Lawler to create a collaborative project that is itself an example of postmodern practice at its most provocative.

Taking the museum as the paradigmatic institution of artistic modernism, Crimp surveys its historical origins and current transformations, from the plans for the Berlin Museum in the 1820s to reinstallations of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modem Art in the 1980s. But it is the breakup of this modernist paradigm that is the central subject of On the Museum's Ruins. The new paradigm of postmodemism is elaborated through analyses of art practices broadly conceived, not only the practices of artists Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman, Marcel Broodthaers, Richard Serra, Sherrie Levine, and Robert Mapplethorpe - but those of critics and curators, of international exhibitions such as Documenta and Zeitgeist, of new or refurbished museums such as the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart and the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin.

Louise Lawler's photographs expand the investigation to include private and corporate collecting, art auctions, and the banishment of objects to museum storage.

Douglas Crimp is Visiting Professor of Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester and Visiting Professor of Lesbian and Gay Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. His previous books include Aids: Cultural Analysisl/Cultural Activism and AIDS Demo Graphics.

The essays: Photographs at the End of Modernism. On the Museum's Ruins. The Museum's Old, the Library's New Subject. The End of Painting. The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism. Appropriating Appropriation. Redefining Site Specificity. This Is Not a Museum of Art. The Art of Exhibition. The Postmodern Museum.

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On the museum's ruins

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In this collection of essays previously appearing in the journal October or in exhibition catalogs, art historian Crimp explores the often conflicting roles of the museum, the artist, and the public ... Read full review

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About the author (1993)

Douglas Crimp is Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History at the University of Rochester. He is the author of "On the Museum's Ruins" and "Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics", both published by the MIT Press.

Louise Lawler was born in Bronxville, New York, in 1947. She came to prominence in the 1980s with her own sophisticated and very postmodern brand of re-photographed artwork. She has had solo exhibitions at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., among others. Lawler collaborated with Douglas Crimp on the seminal book The Museum's Ruins. She lives in New York.

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