Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Imagined Museums

Art and Modernity in Postcolonial Morocco

2010
Author:

Katarzyna Pieprzak

Imagined Museums

What happens when national museums fall apart?

Imagined Museums examines the intertwined politics surrounding art and modernization in Morocco from 1912 to the present. In this first cultural history of modern Moroccan art and its museums, Katarzyna Pieprzak goes beyond the investigation of national institutions to treat the history and evolution of multiple museums as cultural architectures that both enshrine the past and look to the future.

Katarzyna Pieprzak’s fieldwork conducted in Moroccan museums has resulted in a highly engaging book. Imagined Museums is both a fascinating account of Moroccan cultural productions and a remarkable ethnography.

Susan Slyomovics, author of The Performance of Human Rights in Morocco

Imagined Museums examines the intertwined politics surrounding art and modernization in Morocco from 1912 to the present by considering the structure of the museum not only as a modern institution but also as a national monument to modernity, asking what happens when museum monuments start to crumble.

In an analysis of museum history, exhibition policy, the lack of national museum space for modern art, and postmodern exhibit spaces in Morocco, Katarzyna Pieprzak focuses on the role that art plays in the social fabric of a modernizing Morocco. She argues that the decay of colonial and national institutions of culture has invited the rethinking of the museum and generated countermuseums to stage new narratives of art, memory, and modernity. Through these spaces she explores a range of questions: How is modernity imagined locally? How are claims to modernity articulated? How is Moroccan modernity challenged globally?

In this first cultural history of modern Moroccan art and its museums, Pieprzak goes beyond the investigation of national institutions to treat the history and evolution of multiple museums—from official state and corporate exhibition spaces to informal, popular, street-level art and performance spaces—as cultural architectures that both enshrine the past and look to the future.

Imagined Museums

Katarzyna Pieprzak is associate professor of French and comparative literature at Williams College.

Imagined Museums

Katarzyna Pieprzak’s fieldwork conducted in Moroccan museums has resulted in a highly engaging book. Imagined Museums is both a fascinating account of Moroccan cultural productions and a remarkable ethnography.

Susan Slyomovics, author of The Performance of Human Rights in Morocco

Imagined Museums is a highly original and significant contribution to postcolonial museum studies, contemporary Moroccan art history, and cultural studies of the Maghreb.

Mary Vogl, The Middle East Journal

The information she [Pieprzak] provides is invaluable. Her detailed studies in the first section of the book offer an interesting counterpoint to the history of alternative structures in the second section, presenting readers with an informed argument grounding contemporary practice in Morocco. This book is a wonderful addition to extant theorizations of both museum practices and modernity.

Journal of Contemporary African Art

This is an invaluable book about the history and politics of cultural production and the making and unmaking processes of museology in a postcolonial setting. The book provides important historical and regional context, and it expands an understanding of the museological implications of the discourses of modernity.

Museum Anthropology News

Imagined Museums innovatively combines theories and methodologies from museum studies, art history, anthropology, comparative literary studies, and postcolonial studies. In particular, it is a landmark contribution to the fields of museum studies, art history, and Middle Eastern and North African studies.

...Imagined Museums is a significant achievement, a must-read for anyone interested in art and politics in the Middle East and North Africa, and in postcolonial museum practices more generally. It is also well-written, concise, and thought-provoking, making it quite suitable for course adoptions.

Museum Anthropology Review