Fred Wilson’s Critiques of Museum Installations

By Elizabeth Mix.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the ongoing work of installation artist Fred Wilson, who has spent many years intervening in museum spaces as a form of institutional critique. Wilson creates re-installations of museum collections that intentionally fracture the practice of segregation and isolation of cultures. He resists the fixed perceptions created through traditional display methods in art museums, by which an “African section,” “Asian section” and “Western section” are kept in separate quarters. The result of Wilson’s work is not only the questioning of isolating practices, but also the educational focus of art collections that treat non-Western work differently. Several of Fred Wilson’s re-arrangement strategies will be introduced in order to suggest ways that museums might modify their thinking about their collections both in how they are arranged and how they serve to educate their visitors.

Keywords: Institutional Critique, Museum Installations, Ethnographic Juxtaposition

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.75-82. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 580.932KB).

Dr. Elizabeth Mix

Assistant Professor, Art History, Department of Media Arts, Jordan College of Fine Arts, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Professor Mix (formerly Menon) is a specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century decorative arts and popular culture. Dr. Mix has published The Complete Mayeux: use and Abuse of a French Icon (Peter Lang, 1997) and co-authored Art Nouveau: A Research Guide for Design Reform in France, Belgium, England and the United States (Garland, 1998). Her essay, “Images of Pleasure and Vice: Women of the Fringe,” has been published in Montmartre and the Making of Mass Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2001) and she has published numerous articles in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Master Drawings, and Art Journal. Her most recent book, entitled Evil by Design: The Creation and Marketing of the Femme-Fatale in 19th-century France, has just been published by the University of Illinois Press. Dr. Mix gives papers regularly at national and international professional meetings and is a member of several art history, art education, design and museum organizations. Her full credentials may be viewed at her website:


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