290 pages, B/w photos
In the past, museum exhibitions in the USA glorified wealth and validated authority, but today they often represent new interests, and pressure groups mobilize either to force their own perspective upon museum walls or to prevent opposing opinions from being expressed. Examining some of the USA's most controversial museum exhibitions of the 1990s, this work encompasses topics such as ethnicity, slavery, Freud, the Old West, and the atomic bomb. Some of these exhibitions challenged standard perceptions, whilst others were faulted for failing to do so. In its analysis of these episodes of America struggling to redefine itself in the late-20th century, the book draws upon interviews with museum administrators, community activists, curators and scholars.
"A signal contribution to the 'culture wars, ' Dubin dispassionately examines the contemporary American museum as a battleground for the control of expression where elitist and populist camps clash over politically sensitive art. . . . His provocative study gives voice to curators and partisans on all points of the spectrum, making his book something of a lively free-for-all. . . . Cogently demonstrates that modern museums are crucibles for change rather than pleasant refuges, and that they are expanding the public's awareness that we live in an increasingly multicultural society and a multinational world." -"Publishers Weekly",
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