African Art ReframedReflections and Dialogues on Museum Culture

African Art ReframedReflections and Dialogues on Museum Culture

Bennetta Jules-Rosette and J. R. Osborn

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9780252043277

Publisher: University of Illinois Press


This book approaches the reframing of African art through dialogues with collectors, curators, and artists on three continents. It explores museum exhibitions, storerooms, artists’ studios, and venues for community outreach. Part One (Chapters 1-3) addresses the history of ethnographic and art museums, ranging from curiosity cabinets to modernist edifices and virtual websites. Museums are considered in terms of five transformational nodes, which contrast ways in which museums are organized and reach out to their audiences. Diverse groups of artists interact with museums at each node. Part Two (Chapters 4-5) addresses museum practices and art worlds through dialogues with curators and artists examining museums as ecosystems and communities within communities. Processes of display and memory work used by curators and artists are analyzed with semiotic methods to investigate images, signs, and symbols drawn from curating the curators and exploring artists’ experiences. Part Three (Chapters 6-8) introduces new strategies for displaying, disseminating, and reclaiming African art. Approaches include the innovative technology of unmixing and the reframing of art for museums of the future. The book addresses building exchanges through studies of curatorial networks, south-north connections, genre classifications, archives, collections, databases, and learning strategies. These discussions open up new avenues of connectivity that range from local museums to global art markets and environments. In conclusion, the book proposes new methods for interpreting African art inside and outside of museums and remixing the results.