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AbstractShaping Relevance: twenty-first century (art) museum philosophy. For a number of years I have taught an introductory course on curatorship to visual arts students completing their undergraduate degrees at a Brisbane based university. Every year, and as part of my introductory lecture, I pose two questions to the assembled student body. The first question is - How can the (art) museum meaningfully contribute to this new century? The second question - what philosophies must this institution embrace or acknowledge in its quest for ongoing relevance, is a logical extension of the first. Visual artists in training, like established artists in the field, need to answer these and similar questions about the public (art) museum in order to understand the symbiotic relationship this cultural institution has with the various publics it serves. In the last 10 years numerous theoreticians have asked similar questions. Three writers in particular - David Carr "The Need for the Museum", in Museum News (March/April 1999): pp31-35 & pp 56-57; Michael Kimmelman, " Museums in a Quandary: Where are the Ideals?" New York Times, August 26, 2001 and Timothy Luke Museum Politics: Power Plays at the Exhibition, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002, have presented particular perspectives worthy of further debate. This paper, in acknowledging the scholarship of these and others writers, will consider the underlying philosophies and missions contemporary art museums must employing to be relevant.
Arts, Education & Law Group, Queensland College of Art