Postmodern Exhibition Discourse: Anthropological Study of an Art Display Case.

  • Marta Wieczorek Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Keywords: Postmodernism, Art Display, Museum Exhibition, Anthropology of Art, New Museology, Interactive Art, Performance.


The article studies tendencies in contemporary museum exhibitions and art display trends. While analysing current status quo of art in the museum context, it discusses the limitations of curatorial impact on the audience perception of the displayed objects. The paper presents a case study of a permanent museum exhibition with an added performance element. As argued in the article, such approach allows a stratified narrative and provokes a dialogue between the audience, performers, and curators, fully reflecting postmodern polyphonic tendency. The aim of the article is to comment on postmodern trends in museology, the status of the displayed art (object), and contemporary exhibition identity.

Author Biography

Marta Wieczorek, Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Zayed University in Dubai, UAE


Bauman, Z. (1997). Prawodawcy i tlumacze. In R. Nycz (Ed.), Postmodernizm. Antologia przekladow (pp. 269 – 298). Krakow: PAN.

Bishop, C. (2006). Introduction: Viewers as Producers. In C. Bishop (Ed.), Participation: Documents of Contemporary Art (pp. 10 – 17). London/Cambridge: Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press.

Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Davis, P. (2008). New Museologies and the Ecomuseum. In B. J. Graham & P. Howard (Eds.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Heritage and Identity (pp. 397 – 414). Burlington: Ashgate.

Dyer, R. (2007). Pastiche. London: Routledge.

Goldberg, R. (2001). Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present. New York: Thames & Hudson.

Harrison, J. (1993). Ideas of Museums in the 1990s. Museum Management and Curatorship, (13), 160 – 176.

Heinich, N. & Pollak, M. (2000). From Museum Curator to Exhibition Auteur: Inventing a Singular Position. In R. Greenberg, B. W. Ferguson, & S. Nairne (Eds.), Thinking about Exhibitions (pp. 231 – 250). London: Routledge.

Hudson, K. (1977). Museums for the 1980s. A Survey of World Trends. Paris: UNESCO.

Kaye, N. (2000). Site-Specific Art: Performance, Place and Documentation. London/New York: Routledge.

Kwastek, K. (2013). Aesthetics of Interaction in Digital Art. Cambridge/London: MIT Press.

Morphy, H. & Perkins, M. (2006). The Anthropology of Art: A Reflection on its History and Contemporary Practice. In H. Morphy & M. Perkins (Eds.), The Anthropology of Art: A Reader (pp. 1 – 32). Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

Prosser, J. (1998). Introduction. In J. Prosser (Ed.), Image-based Research: A Sourcebook for Qualitative Researchers (p. 1 – 4). London: Falmer Press.

Serota, N. (2000). Experience or Interpretation: The Dillema of Museums of Modern Art. London: Thames & Hudson.

Stam, D. (1993). The Informed Muse: The Implications of the ‘New Museology’ for Museum Practice. Museum Management and Curatorship, (12), 267 – 283.

Vergo, P. (1989). The Reticent Object. In P. Vergo (Ed.), The New Museology (pp. 41 – 59). London: Reaktion Books.