Art and Modernity in Postcolonial Morocco
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Note on Translation and Transliteration
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Unless otherwise noted, all translations from French and Arabic are mine. InMorocco, many Arabic words have standard transliterations, often derived fromthe French, and I used these whenever possible. Likewise, I used the standardand accepted spelling of Moroccan names. All other transliterations follow the...
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The list of people who contributed directly and indirectly to this book is long,and I cannot begin to do justice here to the intellectual and emotional sup-First, I thank my friends and colleagues in Morocco. The Chami familyin Fez opened my eyes to cultural politics in the country, and Najib Chamipatiently humored me through many of my museum visits around Morocco....
Introduction: Entering the Museum
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As we walked the crowded streets of the Fez medina toward the Batha Museum,high school student Najib Chami turned to me and asked, “Why should I goto a museum when I live in one?” Apart from a general contempt for tourismas something for foreigners, Najib’s question revealed his awareness of his ownlimited possibilities. A teenager stifled by his family, trapped in his ancient city,...
Part I. Monumental Sites of Discourse: National Museums, Corporate Collections, and Cabinets of Curiosity
1. Degeneration and Decay in the National Museum: Useful and Useless Memory in Modern Morocco
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Moroccan museums do not exist. Moroccan museums are failed institutions.These two statements are the most common responses that Moroccan artists,curators, and academics initially give when asked to talk about museums inMorocco. The museums that they refer to are the national museums, and theircritique of the institution is ultimately a critique of state support for arts infra-...
2. Marketplace Museums: Art and Citizenship in Corporate Morocco
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Although the cultural elite has lamented the lack of meaningful nationalmuseums in Morocco since the postindependence period, local markets andcorporate marketplaces have reinterpreted the museum for their own purposesand profit. Whether through small medina businesses that advertise them-selves as museums or large corporations and financial institutions that create...
3. A Private Cabinet of Curiosity: The Belghazi Museum and Its Politics of Nostalgia
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Where do objects of outrageous memory go? What place is there in nationalmuseums and corporate collections for the curious and the historically bizarre?In 1979 art historian E. H. Gombrich bemoaned the scientific didacticismI have a gloomy vision of a future museum in which the contents of Aladdin’scave will have been removed to the storeroom and all that will be left will be an...
Part II. Tactical Architectures of Art: Discursive, Ephemeral, and Nomadic Museums
4. Imaginary Museums and Their Real Phantoms: Exorcising Monumental Discourse
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What would it mean to create a museum of art that houses discourse ratherthan objects? And positions on art and the modern rather than modern artitself? For many in the museum world, this would be the ultimate travesty, thebetrayal of the object, and the end of art as Hegel predicted. In the Discur-sive Museum, a 2001 symposium held in Vienna, artists, museum curators,...
5. Taking Art to the Streets: The Ephemeral Outdoor Museum as Contact Zone
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Every summer, cultural festivals take place all over Morocco. From June throughAugust 2006, more than fifteen festivals of art, music, and cinema were stagedin beachside towns and large urban areas. With displays and performances thatmix elements of folklore, technology, the “traditional,” and the “modern,” thestreets of Moroccan towns and cities become an animated scene for the artic-...
Conclusion: Rethinking the Museum in Morocco
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In Le Maroc en mouvement: Créations contemporaines (2001), Brahim Alaouiand Nicole de Pontcharra of the Institut du Monde Arabe speak of Moroccanartists, both literary and visual, as “the face of modern Morocco, that of thefreedom of thought.” They declare that “the time has come for artistic cre-ation to be recognized as primordial in the projects of a modern society.”1 This...
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About the Author
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Katarzyna Pieprzak is associate professor of French and comparative literature...
Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2010