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The Medicine Chest

Resonance (Greenblatt)

Item

Title

Resonance (Greenblatt)

Description

In 'Resonance and Wonder' Greenblatt discusses ‘resonant’ moments in regards to museum displays as “those in which the supposedly contextual objects take on a life of their own and make a claim that rivals that of the object that is formally privileged. A table, a chair, a map – often seemingly placed only to provide a decorative setting for a grand work – become oddly expressive, significant not as a background but as compelling representational practices in themselves. These practices may in turn impinge on the grand work, so that we begin to glimpse a kind of circulation: the cultural practice and social energy implicit in mapmaking is drawn into the aesthetic orbit of a painting, which has itself enabled us to register some of the representational significance of the map” (1991: 22- 23). For him a resonant exhibition often “pulls the viewer away from the celebration of isolated objects and toward a series of implied, only half-visible relationships and questions” (1991: 23).

Creator

Stephen Greenblatt

Date Created

1991

Source

Greenblatt, S. 1991. Resonance and wonder. In I. Karp & S.D. Lavine (eds.). Exhibiting cultures: the poetics and politics of museum display. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Type

Text

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