chapter  12
14 Pages

Towards Embodied, Agonistic Museum Viewing Practices in Contemporary Manchester, England

ByAlpesh Kantilal Patel

This chapter explores museums that have re-assessed their collections by promoting practices in which audiences are empowered to actively think and feel through complex issues, which might be unresolvable or agonistic in the end. It also argues that for a contemporary encyclopedic museum to shake off and interrogate its collection's didacticism, it must not only make visible but also make felt its often implicit conceit and mediation. Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery are in the same city, they do have different origins and remits; nonetheless, key to both has been an engagement of the object as performative, or contingent, and recognition that it is a nexus of multiple but not equivalent histories. For Greenhill, the post-museum is a foil for the modernist museum, which, she writes, constructs knowledge as disciplinary or subject-based. Part of the rationale of placing the bed within the museum context was to situate the artwork among broader issues in the history of western art.