The course is designed to introduce students to the history of museums and to
curating practices. Classes will discuss the cultural position of the museum,
the evolution of its function, the different forms of display, the historical
developments of the act of collecting, the position of the visitor and the
role of the curator. The primary purpose of the course is to provide students
with a critical vocabulary for understanding how museums produce knowledge
and structure the ways in which history, geography, cultural difference, and
social hierarchies are mapped. Through a series of richly detailed case
studies related to ancient and contemporary Rome museums, collections and
institutions, classes will investigate the differences between the roles, the
missions, the objectives, and the policies of conservation and
exhibition-making in spaces, relating to modalities of thought. The course
also intends to introduce the figure of the curator and its development from
conservator and classifier to creative, critical protagonist of contemporary
art culture. The course concludes with an overview of current debates around
the contemporary need for museums, and large scale exhibition (such as
Biennials and Triennials) and their perceived social functions
During the first part of the course we will learn about some of the basic
concepts around the definition of Museum, and develop a basic vocabulary on
Museum Studies. We will face the difference between a museum understood as an
institution and a gallery understood as a commercial activity. After that we
will focus on the role and on the function of the curator, and on the
definition of curatorial cultural practices.
The second part of the course will actively introduce students to some of
Rome’s Museums and Commercial Galleries, surveying the different methods of
displaying contemporary cultures, analyzing the diverse curatorial decisions
and discussing some of the practical issues Museums and Galleries face. We
will also investigate the current debates on curating that have risen in the
age of international biennials and blockbuster show, questioning the way in
which exhibitions are conceived and subjects addressed.
Parallel to the theoretical aspects of curating and contemporary museum
studies, students will also actively work on an exhibition project
engaging with the Roman local art scene. During the first weeks of the
course the class will choose the exhibition format they prefer developing (a
show, a conference, a blog, a performance, a small festival, workshops...).
The idea will be conceptually and materially structured during the semester
and presented at the end of the course. Artists based in Rome will be invited
to come lecture in class, introducing their works to the students.
Special lectures on Museums, Foundations and galleries based in Rome:
At the end of the course students should have acquired a knowledge of the
history of museums, of international large scale exhibitions, current issues
and trends in the field, and will be familiar with curatorial
practices. They will have a basic knowledge of the vocabulary used by
museum professionals and a basic bibliography of the recent literature.
They will utilize critical thinking and writing skills as they will be
required to closely examine, analyze, discuss and write about specific
exhibitions and museums
Students will learn how to experience contemporary art museums, how to
recognize the differences within the roles and functions of museums. Students
will also become familiar with the different functions of a contemporary
Kunsthalle (temporary exhibition centers), a commercial gallery, an
international large scale exhibition (biennials and triennials).
Through an introduction of the different players of the contemporary art
system, classes also aim at acquainting students with the role of the
curator, the museum director, the collector, the art critic. Students will
furthermore learn about the history of curating. The course will unveil the
theoretical and practical aspects of curating. In general the course will
highlight the relationships between cultural theory and art practice.