Volume 12 | Material Thinking of Display.

Material Thinking of Display: The dynamic role of new museum architecture on contemporary art, art museum practice, and viewer engagement.

Studies in Material Thinking (SMT) in collaboration with UNSW Art & Design, Australia, hosts of INSIDE OUT: THE DYNAMICS OF NEW MUSEUM ARCHITECTURE ON DISPLAY, 19-20 November 2013, announces the forthcoming publication of a special issue of research papers to be published in 2014.

This issue of SMT (co-edited by Gary Sangster and Gay McDonald, UNSW Art & Design, Australia, and Nancy de Freitas, Design and Creative Technologies, AUT University) will focus on the impact of recent art museum architecture on contemporary art, art museum practice, and viewer engagement in the 21st Century. Two perspectives are offered below:

"You can’t just build neutral white spaces. They kill works of art just as much as hyperactive spaces that make the building a piece of self-indulgence." Renzo Piano, in Gerhard Mack, Art Museums into the 21st Century, 2009 p.69.

"The museum as spectacle, the museum as entertainment, fun. The hypertrophy of art, the mannerism of display, the intimidation of the audience, the citadel of the new museum proclaiming its architectural virtue…I suppose it has something to do with the commodification of leisure, as the museum inevitably adapts the dominating corporate model. What resistance can the art – or museum staff, or indeed, any of us – summon? Not much." Brian O’Doherty, Frieze #80, Jan-Feb, 2004. (O’Doherty, author of The White Cube is also the painter Patrick Ireland)

Submissions are invited that explore: 1) the effect of physical and material realities of architecture on artworks and audiences; 2) future art museum architectural and organizational responses to the fast-paced evolution of new media; 3) the tensions between older curatorial notions of care for collections and contemporary curatorial practices of exposition; 4) the needs of audiences for social and cultural engagement alongside the needs of those who seek a deeper level of engagement with contemporary art/design and 5) the research and learning agendas of Universities for reflexive exhibition programs that connect with the disciplinary backgrounds of students and staff.

SMT is open to innovative format options. We would like to encourage contributions that explore experimental, innovative ways of communicating the value and significance of speculative, pedagogical or applied thinking. We would like to produce a post-symposium on-line volume that values and supports forms of visual argumentation alongside more traditional text submissions.

Submission Process:

• Symposium dates: 19-20 November, 2013

• Inquiries and invitations to submit for this themed volume: February/March 2014. Volume Co-Editors will invite authors to submit developed drafts of their symposium presentations with visual and graphic material included. Authors and researchers my also present independent draft papers for consideration.

• Fully revised paper deadline: 30 June 2014

• Peer review and preparation of final drafts: July 2014 – September 2014

• Expected publication of Special Issue: November 2014.


Gary Sangster, curator, writer and founding Director of research groups, in.site (UNSW) and Toxicity (Sydney University) and lecturer at UNSW Art & Design, Australia.
[email protected]

Gay McDonald, founding Director of in.site research group and lecturer at the School of Art History and Art Education, UNSW Art & Design, Australia.
[email protected]

Nancy de Freitas, Editor-in-Chief, Studies in Material Thinking, Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies, AUT University,
[email protected]