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The 50 Most Influential Exhibitions of Contemporary Art

Jens Hoffmann


The first book to explore the radical shifts that have taken place in curating contemporary art over the last twenty years

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Tracing a history of the field through its most innovative shows, renowned curator Jens Hoffmann selects the fifty exhibitions that have most significantly shaped the practice of both artists and exhibition curators.

The book’s thematic sections focus on a huge variety of exhibitions, including those that have explored public space; reflected on globalization; engaged audiences in revolutionary ways; and brought into the gallery other disciplines such as theatre and architecture. Short texts introduce and place each exhibition in context, accompanied by installation photographs and factual data about the participating artists, venues, dates, curators and publications, and many feature quotations from the originating curators exploring the premise of the show. The book concludes with a roundtable discussion by some of today’s leading curators.

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'Packed with revelation … beautifully produced, illustrated with obvious care and enthusiasm … the importance and relevance of a book like this is difficult to over-emphasise … a welcome addition to anyone’s art-book shelf'

'A fascinating survey of groundbreaking exhibitions from the 1980s through to now … The selection shines with the inquiring intelligence and practical know - how that make Jens Hoffmann one of the most inventive of contemporary curators'
Terry Smith, Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory, University of Pittsburgh

Further Details


Format: PLC (no jacket)

Size: 26.0 x 20.2 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Illustrations: 202

Publication date: 17 February 2014

ISBN: 9780500239117

Contents List

Introduction: Changing Exhibitions • 1. Beyond the White Cube • 2. Artists as Curators as Artists • 3. Across the Fields and Beyond the Disciplines • 4. New Lands • 5. Biennial Years • 6. New Forms • 7. Others Everywhere • 8. Tomorrow’s Talents • 9. Today, History • Roundtable: Talking about Exhibitions

About the Author

Jens Hoffmann is an exhibition maker and writer based in New York. He is Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs at the Jewish Museum, New York, and Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Hoffmann is the Founding Editor of The Exhibitionist: Journal on Exhibition Making.