This paper examines the role of context in two forms of art placement: the museum and the street. The use of context to structure and regulate the reception of art is considered using two contemporary examples. First, I examine the program undertaken by London’s National Gallery in 2007 that involved hanging framed reproductions of paintings from its permanent collection on street walls throughout London. I consider ways in which this involved an experiment in the transformation of public space into a ‘museum’ space by, for example, the display of background information on the works, the use of frames, and the use of additional structures to separate the space of the work from that of the street. Secondly, I examine the inverse of this process by considering Mark Wallinger’s installation, ‘State Britain’, a work that was exhibited in 2007 in London’s Tate Britain. The work recreated an anti-war protest that had stood for five years in London’s Parliament Square before being demolished by the police. The two case studies raise questions concerning the policing of the museum and street as spaces of expression, the different ways in which people are encouraged to experience works of art, censorship, and the transformation of meaning according to context.
|Keywords:||Museum, Advertising, Public Art, Mark Wallinger, The National Gallery, London, Censorship, Tour, Installation|
Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, University of Kent, Vancouver, Canterbury, UK
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