Skip to main content

Psychoanalysis and radical philistinism in the museum

Abstract

This article proposes a psychoanalytic reading of ‘radical philistinism’ in museum contexts. Radical philistinism in the museum is defined as the proposition that curatorship can continue while civilisation falls and cultivation fails. The participation of museums in a cultural game that produces contingent bodily trauma in dominated groups, is contrasted with examples in which a psychoanalysis of the museum allows for a focus on curatorial acts that bring about a worsening or deterioration of the games of culture and civilisation in which the museum is enmeshed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. Sonia Boyce’s intervention is documented in her film and wallpaper installation Six Acts, see https://www.contemporaryartsociety.org/news/recent-acquisitions/cas-acquires-installation-sonia-boyce-manchester-art-gallery-based-takeover-gallery-january-2018/.

  2. Gunther von Hagens (born Gunther Gerhard Liebchen, 10 January 1945) has pioneered the technique of ‘plastination’ for preserving specimens of human tissue and has organized numerous Body Worlds exhibitions to demonstrate this technique.

References

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Malcolm Quinn.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Quinn, M. Psychoanalysis and radical philistinism in the museum. Psychoanal Cult Soc 27, 20–36 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41282-022-00273-5

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41282-022-00273-5

Keywords

  • Museum
  • Trauma
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Philistinism
  • Auto-icon