Orientalism and the Politics of Contemporary Art Exhibitions

Marino, Alessandra (2014). Orientalism and the Politics of Contemporary Art Exhibitions. In: Chambers, I.; De Angelis, A.; Ianniciello, C.; Quadraro, M. and Orabona, M. eds. The Postcolonial Museum. The Arts of Memory and the Pressures of History. Ashgate, pp. 185–194.


This chapter analyses three recent art exhibitions, Orientalism in Europe: From Delacroix to Kandinsky, Migrations: Journey into British Contemporary Art and Open 14, to trace a relation between the recent rise of interest in migrant art and the renewed attention to orientalist art in Europe. In the catalogue of the exhibition 'The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting', the then directors of Tate Britain and the Yale Centre for British Art, Stephen Deuchar and Amy Mayers, affirm that one of the stimuli for organising the event was Saids apparent disregard for the visual image, since his specific interest lay in textuality. The Muse dOrsay in Paris at the same time dedicated an entire exhibition to the contested orientalist painter Jean-Lon Grme, whose colossal canvases also occupied a relevant place in Munich. Although the exhibition provoked critical comments on the political correctness of showing these works, these responses were neutralised by recalling the historical and aesthetic importance of the paintings.

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