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The Display of Art: Exhibitions, Biennials, Salons   Tags: art, biennials, exhibitions, salons, world's_fairs  

Definitions and resources related to historical and contemporary exhibitions.
Last Updated: Jul 1, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Art Exhibitions Print Page

Art Exhibitions

Art exhibitions represent the gathering of art objects into a space for a temporary event. The exhibition or show may include work by a single artist, art works on a single topic or theme, from a specific era, in a defined medium, from a defined geographic region, or a combination of all of these. The space that houses the exhibition may be a public museum, a private gallery, a warehouse space, a coffeehouse, or anywhere that an audience can view the objects. 

The purpose of the exhibition may be to sell the art works or it may be solely educational. A juried show has an individual or panel acting as judge of submitted artworks and selecting which are to be shown. At an invitational show the organizer asks specific artists to supply artworks for exhibition. An open or non-juried exhibition allows anybody to enter artworks and shows them all.   

A solo exhibition includes the work of a single artist and is a mark of achievement and success. The solo show may include the artist's current work, work from a single time period, or may be a retrospective with representative work from different periods in the artist's career.  


Current Art Exhibitions

Call for Entries: Art Shows, Juried Exhibitions & Competitions for Artists: Part of where artists' portfolios, workshops and tutorials are also listed.      

ArtInfo: Offers news, listings for exhibitions, events, galleries and museums around the world, artist profiles and more. Searchable by names, keywords or geographically by country, city or province.         

Euromuse: Information on major exhibitions in European museums updated by the host museum. The database is searchable by date, by topic or by country. Each museum's information is available in the native language and in English.

The Year Ahead: the Guide to this Year's Art Exhibitions and Fairs Worldwide. Call Number: N4390 .Y43. London; New York: Umberto Allemandi & Co, c2002-. Annual guide published in January as a supplement to Art Newspaper.


History of Art Exhibitions

Hauptman, William. "Juries, Protests, and Counter-Exhibitions before 1850," Art Bulletin, v. 67, no. 1 (Mar. 1985), pp. 95-109. Seminal article on the early history of art exhibitions.

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The Ephemeral Museum: Old Master Paintings and the Rise of the Art Exhibition - Francis Haskell
Call Number: N4395 .H37 2000
New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, c2000. This book traces Old Master exhibitions, country by country beginning in the late 1700s. It describes how international blockbuster museum exhibitions arose from 17th-century ''old master" retrospectives in Italy and the "salons" of France beginning in the 18th century, to the 19th-century nationally based shows and today's global extravaganzas.

The Art of All Nations, 1850-73: the Emerging Role of Exhibitions and Critics - Elizabeth Basye Gilmore Holt
Call Number: N6450 .A79 1982
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982 c1981. In this collection of mid-nineteenth century European documents, Elizabeth Holt gathers the reactions of critics to the Salon of Paris, the International Exhibition of Arts and Industry in 1873 in Vienna, and similar international exhibitions in Brussels, Naples, Florence, Munich and London, as European artists gradually shed the fashions and conventions of earlier eras and entered the age of modern art.

The Story of Exhibitions - Kenneth W. Luckhurst
Call Number: T395 .L78
London: Studio Publications, 1951. Recounts the evolution of the history of displaying art including early shows, salons, World's Fairs, galleries, museums, and auction houses.

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Biennials and Beyond: Exhibitions that Made Art History, 1962-2002 - Bruce Altshuler
Call Number: N4395 .A48 2013
London: Phaidon, 2013. Reference book on the exhibitions that have changed contemporary art history.

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Show Time: the 50 Most Influential Exhibitions of Contemporary Art - Jens Hoffmann (Editor)
Call Number: N 6486.H64 2014
London: Thames & Hudson, 2014. Explores the shifts that have taken place in the practice of curating contemporary art over the years. This title focusses on a variety of exhibitions, including those that have explored public space; engaged audiences in revolutionary ways; and brought into the gallery other disciplines such as theatre and architecture.


Pivotal Exhibitions

Armory Show 1913. Lauded as one of the most influential events in the history of American art, the Armory Show [in New York City] on February 17, 1913, ran to March 15 has a mythic legacy. The site presents a virtual tour of the show, brief commentary on each area of the exhibition, related essays and bibliography.

   There have been various publications about the Armory Show. These include: 

      The Armory Show at 100: Modernism and Revolution, Edited by Marilyn Satin Kushner and Kimberly Orcutt. (New York: New-York Historical Society; London: in association with D. Giles, [2013])

     1913 Armory show; 50th anniversary exhibition, 1963. Organized by Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute. ([Utica, 1963])

     Documents of the 1913 Armory Show : the Electrifying Moment of Modern Art’s American Debut. (Tucson : Hol Art Books, 2009)

Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, 1851. The first in a series of World's Fair exhibitions of culture and industry that were to become a popular 19th-century feature. Website was prepared by the Spencer Research Library at the Univ. of Kansas.


Exhibition History of Specific Museums

Many art museums maintain an Archive Department with records and publications about the museum's history. If the museum doesn't have a formal archive, check their library for their own publications.  

Museum Exhibitions 1870-. Compiled by the Metropolitan Museum of Art Archive, this record of titles and dates of exhibitions at the museum is organized chronologically.   

Exhibition History List. Chronological list of exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York since November 1929.

Exhibition History for the Art Institute of Chicago. Chronological list of exhibitions starting in 1883.

Art & Architecture Librarian

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Susan Craig
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Phone: (785) 864-3020
Location: Art & Architecture Library



Curating an Exhibition

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On Curating: Interviews with Ten International Curators - Ed. by Carolee Thea and Thomas Micchelli
Call Number: N 408.T54 2009
Author explores the intellectual convictions and personal visions that lay the groundwork for the most prestigious and influential exhibitions in the world today.

A Brief History of Curating - Hans Ulrich Obrist
Call Number: N 408.O27 2008
Zurich: JRP / Ringier; Dijon: Les Presses du réel, 2008. Interviews that map the development of the curatorial field--from early independent curators in the 1960s and 70s and the experimental institutional programs developed in Europe and the U.S. through the inception of Documenta and the various biennales and fairs.

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Ten Fundamental Questions of Curating - Jens Hoffmann (Editor)
Milan, Italy: Mousse Publishing; [London]: Fiorucci Art Trust, c2013. Essays by ten distinguished curators.


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