Mar 13-15, 2014, International Conference “Collecting Geographies: Global Programming and Museums of Modern Art,” Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Paper co-authored with Zanna Gilbert delivered at the panel “Critical Readings of Global Curating.”

PAPER ABSTRACT: The Museum of Modern Art launched the project C-MAP (Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives in a Global Age) in 2009, with the intention of stimulating in-depth, cross-departmental research about art beyond the Euro-North American axis its collection had heretofore been mainly associated with. It initiated three research groups (focused on East Asia, Central & Eastern Europe & Latin America & the Caribbean) constituted by curatorial staff, as well as staff from the Library & Archives, Education and Publications departments. More than a mere geographical ‘expansion’, however, the project aims to reconsider some of the central assumptions around modernist art and to investigate notions of quality, originality and context. While C-MAP is a non-instrumental project, there have nonetheless been outcomes in terms of exhibition and acquisitions. Additionally, in 2012, the web project post – a digital publication that is at once an online journal, archive, exhibition space and discussion platform – was initiated to make public some of the research being conducted in the museum, and to stimulate debates around these issues through commissioning researchers, artists and curators to write and think about them. On post, the focus on revisiting canonical understandings of modernism has so far addressed international experimental artistic networks such as Fluxus and mail art. Importantly, networking has become a key methodological tool, since the project both conducts research on networks, and utilizes a networked structure to disseminate that research. This methodology is not addressed unproblematically; considering networks allow a focus on what translates and what does not across modernisms’ communicative structures. This paper then, will consider strategies of research, collaboration and knowledge dissemination online in relation to conventional museum strategies of collecting.

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