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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

A Gust of Photo-Philia: Photography in the Art Museum

Moschovi, Alexandra (2020) A Gust of Photo-Philia: Photography in the Art Museum. Other. Leuven University Press, Leuven.

Item Type: Monograph (Other)


The first transnational history of photography’s accommodation in the art museum
Photography was long regarded as a “middle-brow” art by the art institution. Yet, at the turn of the millennium, it became the hot, global art of our time. In this book—part institutional history, part account of shifting photographic theories and practices—Alexandra Moschovi tells the story of photography’s accommodation in and as contemporary art in the art museum. Archival research of key exhibitions and the contrasting collecting policies of MoMA, Tate, the Guggenheim, the V&A, and the Centre Pompidou offer new insights into how art as photography and photography as art have been collected and exhibited since the 1930s. Moschovi argues that this accommodation not only changed photography’s status in art, culture, and society, but also played a significant role in the rebranding of the art museum as a cultural and social site.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).
A marginal art for more than a century, photography has now become the ‘hot’ art of our époque. With the exception of a handful of American institutions, it was not until the late 1970s that photography as independent, contemporary art was fully accommodated in European and American art museums. In the past decade, curatorial fascination with photography’s ‘expanded field’ and the ‘networked’ image as well as museum strategies fostering inclusivity and audience participation have also brought a range of photographic practices into the art museum. This book offers a transnational history of collecting and exhibiting photography as contemporary art in the museum: from the photophilic turn of modern and contemporary art museums, to the photography mega centres and virtual museums of the new millennium. Its aim is to afford diverse audiences unique insight into the discourse of reasons, the practical, technical, political and aesthetic workings that have fuelled the abovementioned gust of photophilia across institutions and continents in the later part of the twentieth century. In doing so, the book asks what the place of photography is in the art museum now that ‘we are all photographers’ and online platforms for consumption of cultural production question the very function and relevance of the physical museum. What is the photograph as museum collectible in this day and age and can photography still retain its autonomy within the art museum of the twenty-first century?

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Uncontrolled Keywords: photography, art museum, curating, cultures of display, exhibitions, museum collections, virtual museum, digital media, computational photography, post-internet art, postmedia, materiality
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Depositing User: Alexandra Moschovi


Item ID: 10528
Identification Number: 9789462702424
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Alexandra Moschovi: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2020 11:30
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2021 21:07