Virtual Public Lecture: David Joselit, “Heritage and Debt: Art in Globalization”

Book cover with the photo of a camcorder beside gloved hands handling a book with many children's faces

The GSD is pleased to present a series of talks and webinars broadcast to our audiences via Zoom.

*This lecture will be ONLINE ONLY. For security reasons, virtual attendees must register. Scroll down to find complete instructions for how to register.

Event Description

Globalization has generated a new model of regional museums of modern and contemporary art whose purpose, Joselit argues, is to develop an alternative to the authority of the so-called Encyclopedic Museums of former imperial capitals in the West, such as London, Paris, and Vienna—a type that can no longer be reproduced.  In this lecture, drawn from his recently published book of the same title, he considers the National Gallery Singapore (Studio Milou), The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Heatherwick Studio), M+ Hong Kong (Herzog & de Meuron), and the Louvre Abu Dhabi (Jean Nouvel) as exemplars of a new model in which the universality associated with European encyclopedic museums are replaced by claims of regional representation whose expansive territorial ambitions are grounded by archaeological situatedness in a local site or culture, often literally through the repurposing and reanimation of existing buildings.


David Joselit began his career as a curator at The ICA in Boston from 1983-1989. After receiving his PhD from Harvard in 1995, he has taught at the University of California, Irvine, and Yale University where he was Department Chair from 2006-09, and most recently at the CUNY Graduate Center. Joselit is author of Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp 1910-1941 (MIT, 1998), American Art Since 1945 (Thames and Hudson, 2003), Feedback: Television Against Democracy (MIT, 2007), and After Art (Princeton University Press, 2012). He co-organized the exhibition, “Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age,” which opened at the Brandhorst Museum in Munich in 2015. Joselit is an editor of the journal OCTOBER and writes regularly on contemporary art and culture. His most recent book is Heritage and Debt: Art in Globalization (forthcoming as an October Book from MIT Press in Spring 2020).

How to Join

1. Have a Zoom account. Members of the Harvard community who have not yet set up their Zoom account can follow the instructions here. Guests without a Zoom account can set one up for free at

2. Register to attend the lecture here. Once you have registered, you will be provided with a link to join the lecture via Zoom. This link will also be emailed to you. Please make sure the email you use to register is the same email connected to your Zoom account.

The event will also be live streamed to the GSD’s YouTube page. Only viewers who are attending the lecture via Zoom will be able to submit questions for the Q+A.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].