Exposition and Context

Exposition and Context is the third video lecture presented by Caroline Wright.


Why do I need to make a career out of what I do?

What are my reasons for doing so?

What are my needs?

Is it the money, public recognition, people’s reaction?

What constitutes my practice?

Where am I currently positioned?

Where would I like to be in several years time?

What is my professional context?

Museums & Galleries

Researchers, public, education, a value beyond just looking, a value of learning and history.  Bring the past to life and commenting on society.

Mediate art and artifacts from an original context, giving the objects  a narrative and frame, catering for a particular audience, providing education and/or entertainment or a combination of both.

Can be public, state or privately owned.

National Gallery, London, structured advancement of knowledge.  An impressive building, art is important, a symbol of wealth and status, housing National collection.

Tate Modern converted  by Herzog Muran from old power station which has considerable international status.  Evidence of commercial wealth.  In the Turbine hall they showcase one international artist.  More than an international collection, cafe, restaurant, member lounge, shop, an experience.

MoMA, New York built in 1939 by Philip Goodwin and Edwin Durrell Stone.

Gugenheim, New York, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built between 1957-59, an artwork in its own right.

Gugenheim, Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry and opened in 1997. A symbol of wealth and status.

Louvre, Paris, houses a collection.  The sumptuousness of the building and the cramped style of hanging, have painting and  architecture competing for attention.

Musee d’Orsay, Paris, opened in 1900 to house the modern art collection.

Sainsbury Centre designed by Norman Foster in Norwich, to house the collection of Robert and Lisa Sainsbury.  A paradigm of globalisation, brutal and functional.  It is climate controlled, has an educational element, and is attached to the university of East Anglia, which runs degree courses related to the collection.  There is a curatoral and directorial style associated with the works that are displayed, and the way we are able to move through the gallery.

Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, was designed by T N Gene and opened in1885. The museum reflects the locality and personality of Lt Gen Pitt Rivers, who created the collection.

With works of art, such as Rodin’s The Kiss, does it have power, status, are we meant to look in awe or relate on a personal level.

Consider the work, the people, the logistics of conceiving and executing a major exhibition, the marketing, the funding, the mechanics.

Beyond the Gallery

Where to exhibit work of a political nature.  Viral?  The web?

What about site specific work.  Alison Lapper by Marc Quinn on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square caused considerable debate about disability, motherhood, the power of a marble sculpture.

In Aldburgh in Suffolk, Maggie Hamlin, a local artist donated a work, which initially sparked much public debate, but is now considered a landmark.

The Shell by Maggie Hamlin

What is the artist’s intention?   Robert Smithson’s land art that can only really be seen from the air.

Or Andy Goldsworthy’s Icicle, which is a temporary work and can only really be seen in a photograph.

Is the documentation of the work, the work?  Where does the audience come from?

Tattoos, are they a personal exhibition space?

Taking this control of the body further, Franko B’s Lover Boy

The blood dripping from the arms could be harmful.  Are we voyeurs?

Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North

dominates the A1.

Anne Bean’s 0 Degrees, represents the meridian line at Greenwich.


The Venice Biennale was conceived by the mayor in 1894, with each exhibition curated by a new curator, who brings their own vision.

The sponsored Frieze Art Fair in London attracted 60,000 visitors last year.  It represents over 170 galleries, and is the place for curators, artists and gallerists to view the latest art developments.

The Turner Prize, set up in 1984.  British artist under 50 for a range of work preceding year.  It provokes debate because the winner usually challenges the general public.  It i s news worthy, celebrity, with a monetary prize.

How would I quantify success?  The best I can do? Prize winning? Fame?  Celebrity?

Then there are the competitions.  The John Moores Painting Prize, staged as part of the Liverpool Biennial.  The Jerwood Drawing prize, won this year by a sound piece?

Reflect on what is right for my work and the context that produce and would want to be seen.

‘An excess of display has the effect of concealing the truth of the society that produces it, providing the viewer with an unending stream of images… detatched from the real world of things.. (we) see everything but understand nothing.’ Guy Dabord: Society of the Spectacle


Author: susanmilleruk

Watercolour painter living, working and loving Hastings and St Leonards on Sea. MA in Fine Art.

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