CFP: Collecting Geographies – Global Programming and Museums of Modern Art

Organized by Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; ASCA/ACGS University of
Amsterdam, Amsterdam; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Folkwang Museum,
Essen;Tropen Museum, Amsterdam
Location: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Dates: 13-15 March 2014
Deadline for papers: September 30, 2013
Admittance fee: €100,-
Key-note speakers / panel participants
James Clifford, Sarat Maharaj, Annie Coombes
Kader Attia, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Daniel Birnbaum and Tobia
For the latest information on key-note speakers and panel participants
please keep an eye on our website:
Against the backdrop of globalization today, museums for modern and
contemporary art in the West are inclined to pay serious attention to
the acquisition and presentation of art from all over the world, beyond
the still prevalent dominance of European and North American art. Given,
on the one hand, the extreme concentration of internationally operating
art institutions in Western  Europe and the United States, and the often
radically different self-understanding of non-Western art institutions
on the other, the institutional claims to the global need to be
reviewed, contextualized and contested.

A critical reassessment of the history of Western art museums provides
an entrance into this discussion. Often the current all-encompassing
scope in exhibition and acquisition practices, contrasts with
conventional approaches which are assumed to be limited to a modernist
focus on Western art and exhibition models. However, when taking a
closer look to the institutional histories of such museums it often
appears that they are more diverse and can offer interesting
correspondences with today’s curatorial practices and broadening
international scope.
The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which recently (re-)opened its renovated
and extended premises on Amsterdam’s Museum Square, serves as a good
example. Although it is now mainly known for fostering modernist and
(neo-)avant garde art practices especially from Europe and, since the
mid-60s, the United States, it boasted a bewildering variety of
itineraries in its exhibition program throughout its past. But this
history has been neglected or perhaps even ‘purified’ through a
modernist lense. The Folkwang Museum in Essen is another example, which
houses a large collection of historical non-Western art objectsthat have
mostly been neglected as a starting point for its exhibition programs
over the last decades.
The conference Collecting Geographies – Global Programming and Museums
of Modern Artreflects on the value of these histories of ‘art from
elsewhere’, as Okwui Enwezor calls it. The conference also takes a
closer look at the new inquiries into the relation between art
institutions, globalization and postcolonial discourse – think of the
various new exhibitition projects and acquisition policies of for
example the Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, Moderna Museet and the
Stedelijk Museum. Moreover, there will be room for a critical
investigation of the deployed terminology and theoretical discourse.
Conference set-up
For the conference Collecting Geographies,curators and academic
researchers are invited to (re-)explore:
– global itineraries concretized in museum collections and exhibitions.
– past and contemporary policies for ‘global’ programming and
acquisitions developed by modern and contemporary art museums.
– theoretical and methodological reflections on globalization and the
art world.
The organisation specifically welcomes papers on the following topics:
– Exhibition and collection histories of modern and contemporary art
museums, with special interest in ethnographic moments, primitivism and
purification tendencies, and their reassessment in the context of today
and tomorrow.
– The division of modern art and ethnography, as well as the division of
modern and contemporary art museum and the ethnographic museum, and the
possible or impossible reconciliation of the two.
– Curatorial methods, attitutedand exhibition practices which can
reconcile versatile or even oppositional practices, traditions and
histories, both in and beyond the predominating model of the white cube.
– Museum strategies that focus on local affinities within a larger
(art-historical/global) framework.
– Theoretical reflections on postcolonial theory, globalisation and the
modern and contemporart art world.
Submitting papers/sessions
The call for papers is open to both institutional and independent
researchers.It is also possible to submit proposals for sessions (max.
amount of speakers per session: 5)
Abstracts of 300 words (plus short resume of 150 words) should be
emailed to before September  30 2013.
A committee compiled from the organizing institutions will assess the
abstracts in October and determine the final selection.
Selected papers will be delivered at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam,
during a three-day conference to be held from 13 to 15 March 2014. A
detailed program will be announced in December 2013, along with
information and suggestions about travel and accommodation. The
conference fee covers entrance to the museum, lunches and drinks
organized within the framework of the conference.
The organizers will endeavor to make available a number of grants for
non-institutional applicants, especially those travelling from outside
Europe. Please contact the organizers for more information.
General info & Sponsor lines
This two day conference is organized by the Stedelijk Museum in the
framework of the Stedelijk’s long term project ‘Global Collaborations’,
in cooperation with ASCA / ACGS University of Amsterdam and the
following institutional partners: Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Folkwang
Museum, Essen; Tropen Museum, Amsterdam a.o.
The conference Collecting Geographies – Global Programming and Museums
of Modern Art is supported through the grants of the Mondrian Fund and
Ammodo for Global Collaborations, as well as the aforementioned partner

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