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Aesthetics at LargeVolume 1: Art, Ethics, Politics$
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Thierry de Duve

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226546568

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226546872.001.0001

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The Idea of Art and the Ethics of the Museum

The Idea of Art and the Ethics of the Museum

A Candid Theory

Chapter:
(p.53) 4 The Idea of Art and the Ethics of the Museum
Source:
Aesthetics at Large
Author(s):

Thierry de Duve

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226546872.003.0005

The lineaments of an ethical theory of the museum based on Marcel Broodthaers’s fictitious Musée d’art moderne, Département des aigles, Section des figures, are here laid down. Contrary to what the humanist, patrimonial theory of the museum maintains, this candid theory proposes that museums of art find their ethical legitimacy in presentation (exhibition) rather than in preservation (collection). Populism fueled by the desire to give the public what the public supposedly wants can be averted on the condition of seeing clearly that museum officials receive their mandate to exhibit from art itself and their mandate to collect from the People. Both art itself and the People are ideas, not to be confused with art altogether (a collection of things) and the public (the people with a small p), which are empirical entities.

Keywords:   art itself, collection, exhibition, museum, Marcel Broodthaers, People, presentation, preservation

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