CFP: Museums and Celebrity Culture: Historical and Critical Perspectives, Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC), 2019

We are pleased to announce call for paper proposals for the panel “Museums and Celebrity Culture: Historical and Critical Perspectives”, which will be a part of the 2019 Conference of the Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC).

The conference will take place on 24-27 October 2019, Hilton Hotel, Québec, QC

The deadline for paper proposals is May 31, 2019.

This session is a reflection on museums and the phenomenon of celebrity culture. Museums are institutions that channel celebrity culture as a part of the global creative industry and mass culture. Today, it is evidenced in the boom in blockbuster exhibitions and large-scale collaborations of museums with film and fashion industry. In history, too, exhibitions and artworks on display had already served as an attraction to the enlightened public.

Museums are also celebrity institutions in their own right – they have established fame as disseminators of high culture, based on collections of artworks whose value is inflated by art market prices. They also act as containers of creativity and provide a ready-made, social-media worthy experience, which is valued in the modern experiential economy. Recently, music stars and opinion leaders like Beyoncé and Jay-Z have instrumentalized the Louvre as an agent of the star system with its appearance in their recent music video “Apeshit”.
The synergy of museums and the marketing industry is increasingly prevalent. Museums have become highly visible and controversial agents of the hyper-and overproduction of cultural goods and commercialized public spaces. This is especially evident in the recent museum construction boom in Museum quartiers and museum islands, as well as the ongoing popularity of museums in China, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai built by starchitects which are recognized as new brandscape spots and mass-tourism attractions.
This evolution of the institution of the museum raises new concerns for the strategic management (acquisition, public criticism) of artistic celebrities in museum collections in the time of the #metoo movement, increasing calls to decolonize cultural institutions, and the vital importance of actively engaging underrepresented artists and communities into museums.

Topics of discussion include but are not limited to:
– Theoretical and critical implications of relationships between museums and celebrity culture.
– Global history of blockbuster exhibitions.
– Art marketing strategies in building celebrity agenda by/in museums.
– Artistic celebrity and acute questions of museum acquisition policy.
– Museums as celebrities in the contemporary star system (starchitects, brandscapes, mass-tourism)
– Museum politics and contemporary populism.

Please, submit your paper proposal (150 words) and short one-page bio/CV to the session chairs:
Maria Silina, Université du Québec à Montréal
Lynda Jessup, Queen’s University