chapter  7
14 Pages

From the White Cube to a Critical Museography

The Development of Interrogative, Plural and Subjective Museum Discourses
ByJ. Pedro Lorente

Critical museum studies is the locution used by Piotr Piotrowski when referring to defiant analysis of museum practices whereby their value systems are deconstructed, exposing the interplay of political, ideological and economic forces, favouring polemics, controversies and debates. Theory is meaningless if not connected to real practice, and 'critical museology' does not make sense without comparative studies of 'critical museography', that is, the actual strategies and displays showing the impact of reflexivity in a wide range of museums. To test the global development of postmodern museum theories it considers practical international examples emerging in our postcolonial world, not just in galleries of contemporary art, but also in museums of anthropology, social history and other fields; not only in Britain and North America, but also in other parts of our planet. Other adaptations of industrial buildings, often with cramped displays in rough architectures, further reinforced this postmodern trend, opposed to the chronological narrative once typical of the puritan 'white cube'.