The Function of Time: The Contemporary Art Museum

During the last two decades, a new type of art museum has arisen which promotes art without history, dedicated to contemporary issues. This has been prompted by globalization and its associated awareness of global concerns and the rise of digital technologies. The media used by artists, their subject matter as well as the scale of their artworks have as a result been differentiated to a limitless degree. These can no longer be hosted by white and black boxes that define modern art museum interiors. To be a platform for contemporary art, the contemporary art museum interior needs to embody spatial diversity and it needs to accommodate change and the unpredictability that is inherent in the condition of contemporary art. By contrast, the exterior needs to respond to local and urban considerations that are unique to their specific context. The growth of contemporary art has promoted a surge in the construction of new contemporary museums in the last decade. However, we have yet to discover typological definitions for a contemporary art museum which distinguish it from a modern art museum. This studio is one of a series at the GSD focused on exploring the architectural potentials of \”Blank Typologies\”, which include shopping malls, cineplexes, airports, auditoriums and sport halls. These are buildings that engulf a very large amount of interior space which, with the aid of air conditioning and artificial lighting, remains free of restrictions of the external environment, and can provide spatial variety and infinite choice. Meanwhile, their exterior is blank of any interior representation and is free to explore exterior functions. Capitalizing on the ambition behind Cedric Price\’s Fun Palace proposal in the 1960\’s, the studio will examine the ways in which a complex shed structure can be varied over time to address ideas of transience and incompleteness while playing host to the wide variety of media provided by contemporary artists. The studio will draw on a variety of sources including discussions on contemporary art by Hans Ulrich Obriest, Philippe Parreno and Mathew Barney.