In his recent article in Curator: The Museum Journal, (56: 2, 2013) US academic Steven Lubar argues that although the timeline seems a 'natural' and 'accessible' approach to museum display, it offers a very 'deterministic' narrative structure. Lubar suggests various ways in which the museum timeline may be revisited and opened up to visitor interaction. Inspired by my reading of this article, I've started to compile a collection of museum and art history based timelines, to get me thinking about how the 'timeline architecture' might be usefully applied to my research into the public art 'collection' in Newcastle-Gateshead.
I've found this very colourful timeline on a wiki page, but I don't know who created it. It's a rare example of a timeline that actually includes public art as a field of contemporary practice. See top right where the designer has nested 'Ritual Site-Art' / 'Urban Site Art' / 'Site Art' between 'Architectural Sculpture', 'Earth Art', 'Installation Art' and 'Performance Art'.
The Timeline of Art History , cited in Lubar's (2013) article, presents the Metroplitan Museum of Art’s collection through ‘a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of global art history.’ The website contains 300 timelines.
Tate’s 'British Art Timeline', is designed by illustrator Marion Deuchars, This one presents a graphic chronology of artistic movements, ‘iconic’ art works and important British artists from the 16th Century to now.
Alfred H Barr's 1936 Cubism and Abstract Art is a much cited example of a timeline/diagram (and of classic 1930s graphic design) . It maps artistic movements and influences in what Edward Tufte describes here as 'an art-historical two-space'. To me it seems very reminscent of diagrams emerging out of 'Actor-Network Theory' and of the now ubiquitous 'Wordcloud'.
Tate uses the timeline format extensively. This list of resources includes thematic timelines commissioned by artists as background to exhibitions, as well as timelines documenting individual artists’ careers and cultural movements
This is the Tate Modern's wall based version of Sarah Fanell's 'Artists Timeline'. Commissioned for Tate it provides a graphic chronology of 'the major artistic movements and important artists of the last 100 years.’
Meet 500 years of British Art - Director's Highlights: Penelope Curtis
Rebecca Farley's insight:
In this video Tate Britain Director Penelope Curtis walks us through the new timeline based ‘Walk Through British Art’ display. Here she talks about the way in which the 'chronological circuit' enables pairing and comparison to be made between very different works.
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