Theater of Exhibitions analyzes “art after the end of art,” questioning whether inherited frameworks of making, theorizing, and exhibiting art still apply to contemporary practice. The book also considers the current commodification of the art industry and the distribution of images in the digital age. Drawing from his formation in theater and his own curatorial work, Jens Hoffmann reflects on the spaces of contemporary art—the gallery, the institution, the biennial—and ultimately positions the discipline of curating in the context of a larger cultural sphere shaped by the political, social, and economic conditions of its time, while demanding new attitudes and new thinking. Hoffmann’s theater posits the exhibition as an anthropological endeavor, and the curator as its agent.
“Jens Hoffmann inventively connects the epic theater of Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator with the most recent developments in curatorial practice in a book that flows forcefully with the insights gained from his extensive and remarkable curatorial experience.”
“Do curators today possess their own radical concepts of freedom? Jens Hoffmann’s answer to this question is yes. Walter Benjamin would have admired his description of the reality of the work. John Dewey would have praised him for living forward. Curators will find worlds of use for Theater of Exhibitions.”
“What is an appropriate form of assembly, an adequate embodied ritual for a global society in the twenty-first century? The exhibition still offers the best solution, yet it is increasingly perceived as falling short. To join Jens Hoffmann on his journey to the heart of exhibition making is to enter into the center of this negotiation, and there is no better travel guide than him.”
Design and illustrations by A Practice for Everyday Life