Historical Times: The Capacities of an Art Museum and How it Comes to Terms with the World Today

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On December 8th, 2011, Charles Esche, Director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, will be speaking at the Graduate Center, CUNY on the contemporary art museum’s experimental approach towards art’s role in society. Below are some fascinating clips of Charles Esche responding to questions about art and its relationship to society, politics, and human engagement with the world from the Play Van Abbe Research Project on the museum in the 21st century at the Van Abbemuseum:

From 28 November 2009, Play Van Abbe is the Van Abbemuseum’s major project for 18 months. It is a multifaceted programme working with and around the collection of the Van Abbemuseum and will cover the majority of the exhibition space. Play Van Abbe consists of exhibitions, projects, performances, lectures, discussions, and new techniques for mediating the public’s reactions to art and its contexts. With the social and political changes of the last 20 years in mind, the museum uses Play Van Abbe to ask topical questions about the identity and objectives of museums and cultural heritage organizations more generally.

Why does the museum talk about politics?

Are artists and designers two different things?

Do you think the art world is separate from the commercial world?

Why does the museum copy an artwork? Is that allowed?

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