The conference will explore historical precedents, as well as the rising phenomena of privately-funded, publicly-driven institutions that are changing the face of museum culture worldwide.
What is a 21st century museum of contemporary art? The Reflexive Museum: Responsive Spaces for Publics, Ideas, and Art will reflect on what it means to build a responsive institution focusing on current debates around notions of the public, the museum as a repository of experience, and the development of cultural spaces as laboratories for art production and creative thinking.
The conference will explore historical precedents, as well as the rising phenomena of privately-funded, publicly-driven institutions that are changing the face of museum culture worldwide. Over two days, leading museum directors, curators, and art historians from around the world will share their perspectives through lectures, panel discussions, and case studies.
Derived from Ancient Greek, the term ‘museum' originally referred to a temple dedicated to the Muses. In more recent times, it has been used and construed differently in contemporary cultures to reflect a range of diverse practices.
In Russian, however, the word ‘museum' remains most often associated with the sole function of historic conservation, and unlike current European and American traditions, the Museum is described as ‘influential' rather than ‘friendly' and ‘responsive'; ‘reserved' rather than ‘dynamic' and ‘reflexive'.
Finding a native equivalent to the adjectives ‘reflexive' and ‘responsive' in the in the conference's title therefore proved challenging. Thus, for its Russian title, Garage has used the epithet ‘resolute' to underscore the conference's goals: first, to invite the Russian museum community to learn about the many possibilities for progress and development, and second, to act in accordance with the legacy of the Russian avant-garde artists, who created the first revolutionary model for a museum "intended to collect all kinds of existing art undergoing a change and designed to exert influence on life using it" (Kazimir Malevich, The Museum of Artistic Culture).
Image: Georgy Litichevsky. Going Down in History. 2013. Mural, acrylic
Courtesy of the artist and Garage Center for Contemporary Culture