From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum
Since the late nineteenth century museums have been seen as agents of imperialism and colonialism, strongholds of patriarchalism, masculinism, homophobia and xenophobia, and accused both of elitism and commercialism. What can we therefore do to transform museums into places of open, critical discussion, actively supporting social change?
These are the issues tackled in the book From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum, edited by Piotr Piotrowski and Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius (Ashgate, 2015). The Round Table with contributors to the book and art critics at POLIN Museum will be an opportunity to reflect on how museums can get involved in public debates on the most important and controversial topics relevant to today’s society.
The meeting will be dedicated to the memory of Prof. Piotr Piotrowski, one of the editors of From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum and creator of the concept of the Critical Museum. Piotr Piotrowski was a professor at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, visiting professor at many foreign universities, and Director of the National Museum in Warsaw.
Participants of the Round Table include:
- Jacob Birken – writer and curator, research assistant at the Visual Arts Department, Kunsthochschule Kassel
- Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett – Chief Curator of POLIN Museum’s core exhibition, University Professor Emerita and Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University
- John Onians – Professor Emeritus in the School of Art History and World Art Studies, University of East Anglia
- Alpesh Kantilal Patel – art critic and curator, Assistant Professor of contemporary art and theory at Florida International University in Miami
- Jarosław Suchan – art historian and critic, curator, Director of Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi
- Ewa Toniak – curator, historian, and art critic, pioneer of feminist critique in Poland
- Krzysztof Żwirblis – artist and curator, initiator of artistic projects carried out in cooperation with local communities
The discussion will be chaired by Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius, co-editor of the book, lecturer at the Department of History of Art, Birkbeck College, University of London.