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Decentring the Museum. Contemporary Art Institutions and Colonial Legacies

Welcome to a book launch and conversation around Nina Möntmann’s publication ”Decentring the Museum. Contemporary Art Institutions and Colonial Legacies”!

With Nina Möntmann in discussion with Hendrik FolkertsNatasha Marie Llorens and Martí Manen.

Nina Möntmann’s timely book ‘Decentring the Museum. Contemporary Art Institutions and Colonial Legacies” extends the decolonisation debate to the institutions of contemporary art. To play a crucial role within increasingly diverse societies museums and galleries of contemporary art have a responsibility to ‘decentre’ their institutions by removing from their collections, exhibition policies and infrastructures a deeply embedded Euro-centric cultural focus with roots in the history of colonialism. In this, she argues, they can learn from the example both of anthropological museums, which are engaged in debates about the colonial histories of their collections, about trauma and repair, and of small-scale art spaces, which have the flexibility to initiate different kinds of conversation and collective knowledge production in collaboration with Indigenous or local diasporic communities from the Global South. For the first time, this book identifies the influence that anthropological museums and small art spaces can exert on museums of contemporary art to initiate a process of decentring.

Nina Möntmann is Professor of Art Theory at the University of Cologne, curator, and Principal Investigator at the Global South Study Center (GSSC) at the University of Cologne.

Hendrik Folkerts is Curator of International Contemporary Art and Head of Exhibitions at Moderna Museet, Stockholm. He previously was Dittmer Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago (2017 – 2022); Curator at documenta 14, Kassel/Athens (2014 – 2017).

Natasha Marie Llorens is an independent curator and art writer based in Stockholm, where she is professor of art and theory at the Royal Institute of Art and co-directs the Center for Art and the Political Imaginary.

Marti Manen is Director of Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation in Stockholm. He has curated the Spanish Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale and co-curated Momentum10 (Biennale in Moss, Norway, 2019).