CFP: Curating the Contemporary in the Art Museum (Copenhagen, 12-13 Mar 20)

Copenhagen, SMK – National Gallery of Denmark and the University of Copenhagen, March 12 – 13, 2020
Deadline: Dec 9, 2019

Open call for Papers:
Curating the Contemporary in the Art Museum
International Conference

The idea of the art museum has undergone radical changes after 1945, expressed in a whole array of new ways to stage its space, curate its exhibitions, and interact with its audiences. These developments generally orient the museum and its practices towards the contemporary in all its plural meanings.

The aim of this conference is to investigate the museum of art as a place, where the contemporary is staged – in exhibitions, collecting practices, communication, and policies. How did the interplay between the museum and the curated thematic exhibition evolve? Which models for rethinking the museum in relation to the contemporary has been proposed? How has the museum been reimagined as a new kind of Bildung institution? How do national galleries rethink themselves in new national, international and/or global ways to (re)present the contemporary?

The conference will focus on the period after 1945: how did the museum of art gain a new position in the societies settling after WW2 and what developments can be recognized, and, potentially shed a new light on art history and art’s significance today? The focus is international to spur an exchange of different perspectives and highlight exchanges and circulations as key factors in the curating of the contemporary.

We encourage contributions on:
– Exhibition histories and research in the significance of specific exhibitions.
– Museum history (including architecture and design).
– Museum and cultural politics.
– National galleries shaping the contemporary.
– Curators and the interplay of individuals and institutions.
– Protests and reactions against art museums.

Proposals: To apply to give a 15-minute presentation at the conference, please send a proposal (max. 300 words + 150 words bio) to: by December 9th 2019. NB: Use the heading: “Curating the Contemporary”.

The final selection of papers will be known ultimo December 2019.

Confirmed Keynote speakers including:
Beatrice von Bismarck and Kim West.

The conference fee is 450 DKK (60 EUR) for two days conference including lunch, coffee breaks and closing reception. The conference is free of charge for all presenters.

For further inquiries, please contact: Kristian Handberg,

Conference committee: Malene Vest Hansen (Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen), Kristian Handberg (Postdoc, University of Copenhagen) and Camilla Jalving (Deputy Director of Collections, Research and Conservation, SMK – National Gallery of Denmark).

Organized by the University of Copenhagen and SMK – National Gallery of Denmark as part of the research project Curating the Contemporary funded by Danish Council for independent Research (