The Constituent Museum. Constellations of Knowledge, Politics and Mediation – Online

An abridged .pdf version of the book The Constituent Museum: Constellations of Knowledge, Politics and Mediation is now available online here via the L’Internationale ‘Bookshelf’.

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Edited by John Byrne, Elinor Morgan, November Paynter, Aida Sánchez de Serdio and Adela Železnik, the edited online .pdf version of the book includes

  1. Table of contents
  2. Editors’ Introduction byJohn Byrne, Elinor Morgan, November Paynter, Aida Sánchez de Serdio, Adela Železnik
  3. The Rainbow Wrasse byFrancis McKee
  4. Negotiating Jeopardy byJohn Byrne
  5. ‘Give her the tools, she will know what to do with them!’
    byNora Sternfeld
  6. Revisiting and Reconstituting Networks from Japan to Beirut to Chile byKristine Khouri and Rasha Salti
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Joy for Ever: How to use art to change the world and its price in the market

On Thursday 28th of March 2019 the exhibition “Joy for Ever: How to use art to change the world and its price in the market” opened at Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.

Instigated by Director Alistair Hudson, and curated by Poppy Bowers, the exhibition celebrated the 200th anniversary of John Ruskin’s birth whilst, at the same time, providing a space in which constituent ways of thinking, making and doing can be undertaken at both Whitworth and Manchester Art Galleries. According to the Whitworth Art Gallery website:

“Joy for Ever will kick start a new way of thinking that revisits the Whitworth’s origins as an Institute founded on civic purpose and the use of art in a mission of social change, whilst combining this with radical new approaches to the role of museums and art in the world today. This exhibition also marks the start of a two-year project with the Manchester Business School, which will culminate in the exhibition Economics: The Blockbuster in 2022.”

As a starting point the exhibition took a creative and critical look at two lectures that John Ruskin delivered in Manchester in 1857 which were titled “The Political Economy of Art, or, A Joy Forever (and Its Price in the Market).” In these lectures, Ruskin, given against the backdrop of the ‘Great Art Treasures exhibition in Manchester’, Ruskin took a critical aim at the city of Manchester which, at the time, he saw as exemplifying the dehumanising ills of the new industrial world. This two part lecture was to become a turning point for Ruskin’s own work – a shift from art critic to social commentator – and later became the book Unto This Last which, in turn, inspired the founding manifesto of the Labour party and also influenced Gandhi’s post-colonial reform of India.

As part of the exhibition I was invited to write three short gallery polemics that were made freely available in the exhibition spaces themselves. Also, I was invited to host three open gallery talks, each of which addressed one of the issues addressed in the written polemics. These were: “The Political Economy of Art”, “Art and Social Making” and “The Architecture of Politics”.

Instigated by Director Alistair Hudson, and curated by Poppy Bowers, the exhibition celebrated the 200th anniversary of John Ruskin’s birth whilst, at the same time, providing a space in which constituent ways of thinking, making and doing can be undertaken at both Whitworth and Manchester Art Galleries. According to the Whitworth Art Gallery website:

“Joy for Ever will kick start a new way of thinking that revisits the Whitworth’s origins as an Institute founded on civic purpose and the use of art in a mission of social change, whilst combining this with radical new approaches to the role of museums and art in the world today. This exhibition also marks the start of a two-year project with the Manchester Business School, which will culminate in the exhibition Economics: The Blockbuster in 2022.”

As a starting point the exhibition took a creative and critical look at two lectures that John Ruskin delivered in Manchester in 1857 which were titled “The Political Economy of Art, or, A Joy Forever (and Its Price in the Market).” In these lectures, Ruskin, given against the backdrop of the ‘Great Art Treasures exhibition in Manchester’, Ruskin took a critical aim at the city of Manchester which, at the time, he saw as exemplifying the dehumanising ills of the new industrial world. This two part lecture was to become a turning point for Ruskin’s own work – a shift from art critic to social commentator – and later became the book Unto This Last which, in turn, inspired the founding manifesto of the Labour party and also influenced Gandhi’s post-colonial reform of India.

As part of the exhibition I was invited to write three short gallery polemics that were made freely available in the exhibition spaces themselves. Also, I was invited to host three open gallery talks, each of which addressed one of the issues addressed in the written polemics. These were: “The Political Economy of Art”, “Art and Social Making” and “The Architecture of Politics”. All three of these polemical papers can be found here on the pdf: Byrne Joy For Ever Three Polemical Gallery Papers