Category Archives: Week 3

How Something Acquires Meaning and Value

Walking through the Phillips Collection, Professor Irvine asked in passing “how something acquires meaning and value.” That night, my mind focused on the question and I came to the obvious realization that curatorial departments function on the groundwork laid from their predecessors. If someone deemed a cultural artifact important, then that distinction is passed on. How an art or artifact acquires meaning and value was established decades or centuries ago. Curators are, inadvertently, providing a biased interface to the system of meaning. In addition, Daniel Buren wrote: “The museum gives a sales value to what it exhibits, has privileged/selected.” The bias from curators is perpetuated simply by the artwork being displayed in a gallery or museum. 

With this sequence of events in mind, I began thinking of the history and acquisition of Luncheon of the Boating Party by Duncan Phillips. Critics had declared Luncheon of the Boating Party to be of cultural significance, and an incredible example of French painting. Had these distinctions not been made apparent to Mr. Phillips, he would not have acquired this Renoir, or had such revere for the work.

To go back even further in these sequence of events, I think of the rise of the impressionist movement in the 1860s. This movement was developed in response to the salons of the period only advocating for paintings with incredible detail. Professor Irvine wrote in The Institutional Theory of Art and the Artworld “…[The Artworld] continually works to redefine and reposition the cultural category of Art, which must be relearned and updated by access to the flow of knowledge, assumptions, information, and beliefs within the Artworld network.” During the late nineteenth century, the idea of acceptable art was realigned to include impressionism, which directly affected the works produced by Renoir. Renoir being acknowledged as a great artist affected Mr. Phillips decision to purchase Luncheon of the Boating Party. In this particular instance, the interface, meaning, and value of Luncheon of the Boating Party was developed nearly 150 years ago. 

Even though the typical visitor to the Phillips will spend under ten seconds looking at the paintings in the collection, as cliche as it sounds, I wont view many artworks the same way again. 

Martin Irvine, The Insitutional Theory of Art and the Artworld, Georgetown University CCT.

Daniel Buren, “Function of the Museum.” In Theories of Contemporary Art, edited by Richard Hertz, 2nd ed., 189–92. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1985.

The Context of the Museum

Articles in this week pointed out several roles of museum. As a node in the Artworld system, museum also takes on a responsibility of defining, and keeping redefining, the boundary of Art. Buren describes the mystical position of museum in his short essay. Once the artwork is selected into the museum’s collection, it was considered and inspected as Art. This is the authority of museum as it serves an interface connecting public to the Artworld. During our tour to the Phillips Collection, the Laib Wax Room was impressive. Once it appears in another place, the mystical atmosphere around it will be subdued. On the first week of our course, Ai Weiwei’s According to What, the installation art, reminds me of seeing a memorial last year. On March 13, 2018, 7,000 pairs of shoes were putted covering the Capitol lawn, symbolizing the 7,000 children killed by gun violence since the 2012 Newtown shooting. The two installation shares similarities: they both combined by the daily articles and in memory of innocent killed children. However, the contexts give them different meaning in the society. According to What appears as artwork in the public eye, while the shoes on the Capitol lawn, shocking as well, carries the political value rather than aesthetic value as a silent protest. Previously, as an outsider of the Artworld, there are some modern Artwork I couldn’t appreciate. However, now I aware that what museum does is not fiercely force the its viewer to admit all the collection carry great aesthetic value, but define the boundary of Art, and makes the viewer identify certain artwork as an Art, then thinking it in a different value system.

I am also impressed by the certain environment museum brings to public, and how could it effect the audience. Viewing the artwork in person is different from online experience. Although I have seen the token of Luncheon of the Boating Party, the real painting gives me another feeling. The frame is bigger than my imagination, and the leisure, optimistic life it portrayed just jumped out, filling my visual field. The light was designed to emphasize the light contrast in the painting, focusing on the left front of the picture. From the material online I read before, I knew it was where Renoir’s fiancée sat. Through the artificial light, the museum is underlying what we can focus when viewing the painting.

How the Painting No.9 was placed is interesting as well. Evolved from private house, the Phillip Collection is not an isolated pure space, but the traits become a merit, not a shortcoming. The Painting No.9 fits ingeniously on the wall, and the rectangle shape on the wall extend the aesthetic meaning of the painting. Several readings in this week mentioned that many museums look like churches or a palace, which creates an elegant and sublime atmosphere to indicates the value of the Art. But sometimes, alternative museum style offers better outcome. When I visited Harvard Art Museum this winter, a Standing Buddha statue impressed me. It was in front of a transparent glass wall. Through the glass, the cloudy sky, chill evening and timeworn modern building of Boston all became the foil of the sculpture, shows how eternal and powerful Art and religion could be. The context also makes me treasure the experience, reminds me how lucky the sculpture and I both are. For we can meet each other, across the time and space distance. This kind of unique feeling could only be brought by museum as the interface.

A personal manifesto for art and space

Last week, I finally had the chance to visit the Phillips Collections, marking the completion of my personal quest of visiting all the major museums in the Washington D.C. area (not including Arts & Industries, assuming that place is opening at some point).  Most of these places I have visited often took shape and turned into monumental institutions, as they tend to occupy a much primer historical gallery space and cater to a much broader audience—“to house their artistic treasures to impress citizens and visitors with the community’s culture”. In comparison, my visit to the Phillips Collections is somewhat refreshing, as it offers a much more intimate setting between the audience and the artworks. 

For instance, for a painting as well-known as Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, my intuition is that it should be hung at a much bigger hall, probably taking up the center of a much bigger wall—not just to accommodate the enormous amount of visitors, but also to highlight the significance of this particular piece. However, as we found out, the painting was placed in a much smaller space, pulling the audience considerably closer to the painting, but I actually think it is quite fascinating by how this arrangement echoes Renoir’s vivid depiction of the dynamic interaction happening amongst the figures by keeping the viewers engaged in the scene, as if they were actually attending the party. 

Another interesting example is how Piet Mondrian’s famous Painting No. 9 was hung on the wood-paneled wall at where it looked a living room area, next to a fireplace and a piano. The stark contrast in style makes me believe the curator—maybe in this case, the host—would like you to pay your undivided attention to those two pieces as soon as you enter the space. Those examples simples simply showcase what an important role the environment could play in terms of influencing the viewers’ experience of appreciating the artworks on display.  

Luckily, I was able to pay a visit to the Frick Collections in New York during the exact same week—both started as personal collections housed in private collection, it was interesting to see the comparison between those two as they were both turned into museums open to the public. The artworks that Frick Collection focuses on are mostly from the pre-impressionist era, which are very different in style from the ones at Phillips Collection. Interestingly enough, the curator at Frick Collection decided to emphasize on the “unity” between art and space, as all the artworks look they are “blended in the space”. As much as I enjoyed the experience, it did make me think perhaps such arrangement has a different purpose rather than focusing viewers’ attention solely on the artworks (showing off Mr. Frick’s enormous wealth, maybe?).  

To sum up, it is just fascinating how space can impact audience’s perception of art, consciously or subconsciously. To appreciate and read art requires not only examining the objects but also observing and absorbing the context where the objects are placed in. 



Alexander, Edward P., Mary Alexander, and Juilee Decker. 2017. Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Functions of MuseumsRowman & Littlefield.

Daniel Buren, “Function of the Museum.” In Theories of Contemporary Art, edited by Richard Hertz, 2nd ed., 189–92. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1985.

O’doherty, Brian. 1999. Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space Univ of California Press.


The Phillips Collection Reflections

Daniel Buren states in his short essay “Function of Museum” (Buren, 1985), that the museum is an empowered place dedicated to showing the aesthetic value of its collections. It provides an “effective support” that gives certain artworks the meaning and identity as “Art.” Alexander (2007) also mentioned that the museum was once defined as “the place of muses” for people who pursue beauty, to “think deeply and to learn.” Modern art museums may still preserve such function, as they are acting as an interface for dialogue between audience with artworks, and also between artwork themselves. My visit to the Phillip’s Collection has given me an entirely new perspective on how essential as well as how overwhelming art pieces could become if they are displayed in a museum setting; museum provides a context for its collection to demonstrate their meanings.

Looking at the real painting gives your loads of “physical information” about the artwork, its scale, its layer of colorings, its perfect proportion of grids and squares, as well as its textures and cracks due to aging. If we consider a website image as an encoded message, watching it in the museum yields tips and tricks on decoding such signal.

Besides, the two paintings, though appear to be quite modern and abstract in style, are in fact hanging near the fireplace of a traditional European ballroom, next to a veiled piano. This peculiar way of curating exhibition attracted me to the paintings nearly instantaneously, since they are possibly the least art pieces I may ever imagine to encounter in a traditional western house. However, their element of the misfit in such environment is what makes them unique.

A previous study of how long people stay looking at an artwork yields the result of approximately 3 seconds per piece. Imagine these two paintings where to be displayed in the modern white walls of a contemporary art museum, will people still come and stand in front of them for minutes trying to grasp the meaning behind those grids? Or even, to merely appreciate how Piet Mondrian, the artist, painted these pieces so painstakingly that they become the perfect demonstrations of proportions and colors.

In addition, artworks are usually confined in their canvases so that people “know” that they are looking at a piece of art. Leaving the canvas behind may make some “abstract art” alienated from the meaning of being “Art” itself. Leaving the exhibition rooms and enter the Phillips Collection Café, I noticed that the walls of this café are the precise imitation of the grids of Composition No.III. However, leaving the confine of its canvas and becoming a wall decoration has stripped Composition No.III out of its aesthetic properties; they are merely beautiful grids that decorate a wall, not an art piece anymore.

The Rothko room is one of the most impressive exhibition I ever stepped into in art museums. When I first look at its pictures online, it is rather hard for me to grasp the meaning of devoting a special room for several pieces of “painting” that only features color blocks. Also, I could not fathom the meaning of putting a single bench in the center of the room. What is the point of such display? Was there a special meaning of having a bench indie this room? Yet my physical visit to the room has proven all my previous questions pointless. Rothko once said that he paints large works is precisely because he wants to be “very intimate and human.” As large pictures give him a sense of being “inside” the painting. Sitting on the bench inside Rothko’s room gives me the exact feeling of being inside the paintings. All The painting on each wall surrounding the room has created an environment that, whenever tried to turn my head to the other direction, colors change and I found myself “drowning” deeper and deeper into the ocean of colors. The experience is so overwhelming that I nearly wanted to flee out of the room just to escape from being so “embraced” by colors. This kind of effect may never be achieved by looking at pictures of the room, or even through augmented reality displays.

This small field trip has given me the impression that the art museum is no longer a simple collection of paintings and sculptures, but rather an empowered place where communications and though between artworks and its audiences take place. Maybe only in the context of the museum, could artworks become so overwhelmingly powerful and meaningful compared to a simple display of them in an online archive.


Brian O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space. Berkeley, CA: Univ. of California Press, 1986. Selections: focus on Chapter 1, pp. 13-34.

Daniel Buren, “Function of the Museum.” In Theories of Contemporary Art, edited by Richard Hertz, 2nd ed., 189–92. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1985.

Edward P. Alexander and Mary Alexander, Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums, Second Edition (Mountain Creek, CA; London, UK: Altamira Press, 2007).

Week 3 – A Reflection of the Phillips Collection Visiting

Banruo Xiao

Professor Irvine points out that, “The art-world maintains and sustains the semiotic resources for ongoing recognition and interpretation of the symbolic value and concepts associated with arts.” Each painting can be seen as a medium expressing the message that the painter leaves in there. During my visiting of The Phillips Collection, I look closely at the brush works of several famous painters.

For example, Vincent Van Gogh uses many bright colors, such as green and yellow, with very sharp and agitated brushwork, showing the vigorous feeling of Van Gogh when drawing this piece of work. A contrasting work will be the Painting No, 9. Although this artwork also contains several bright colors, the brush strokes are very flat and straight. The painter, Mondrian, never uses extra pigments, unlike Van Gogh. The whole piece looks very impersonal. The two different ways of brushwork show completely different emotions and even the painter’s characters. In some word, the artwork, as a medium, delivers painter’s unwritten message.

More than that, Howard Becker mentions that art-world involves collective activities. The museum, as a medium, provides a space for painter and viewer to communicate. The paintings are more like the interfaces that painter or owner interacts with the viewer. In this sense, each viewer might have different ideas and feelings when gazing at a particular piece of work. When I feel the emotion of impersonal and sober for Painting No, 9, someone else might be capable of grabbing the vivid lively mode hiding behind each colorful block.

The Internet, today, is convenient for users in many ways. People do not need to actually go to the museum to see the artworks. The museum builds its own website, photographing all the collections and showing them on the website. If considering the art-work as an interface connecting painter and viewer, the photographs, are merely the interfaces between photographer and viewer. If this is the case, can people really be able to understand the artworks online? I will leave a question mark at here.

Week2- Museum interface and space

Art and Media Interfaced – Week2- Post

Huaiyu Zhang

This post talks about the space of the Phillips Collection and my perspective of the exhibitions ‘space. In the first part, this post talks about the museum’s history and as an interface, it’s historical and institutional functions. The second part talks about what I found about the exhibition space when I visited the museum and combined with the readings, what I learned about the interpretation of the museums’ space.

The museum is the interface of artifacts in two aspects. The first is that museum is an art and cultural space has institutional functions, and the second one is the museum itself is an interface, with exhibitions in it and providing a system of the meaning of the collections in it. The Phillips Collection is an interface of the art institution. The Phillips Collection itself is a historical institution with an accumulation of art collection and the building itself, is the witness of its history. When I visited the museum, I found that the Phillip Museum has two spaces, the new gallery house, and the old family house, and the two spaces separate and connect the idea of collections and different styles of arts. During the visiting, the family house, with small rooms and traditional decors, did not look like a gallery, but as a book of a collection, and what interesting is that the new gallery also heritage the tradition of the family house. It did not differentiate with the old house but designed with small rooms and the traditional atmosphere, even with a fireplace, and the two buildings felt like a whole institution, showing the idea of the collections and its history, and forms special space for the art collections. A museum is also a place that preserves and collects arts and shows the “psychological weight which reinforces the predominance of the support” (Buren, 1985). By browsing the website of the Phillips Collection, there are introductions of the history of the collections and why the collector chose the painting instead of the others and it is better for understanding the idea and design of the exhibitions.

During the visit, what I like is the space and arrangement of the collection, it not only creates a space for the paintings but also makes a context of the dialog. Compared to the exhibitions in large museums such as the MET or some national galleries, Phillips Collections is much more like an exquisitely carved artifact. Each room is arranged with selected artifacts of the owners, expressing the tradition and the ideas of the collectors. In the music room, the room was covered by wood-paneled walls on the front side, and the two paintings of Piet Mondrian hung on the wall. The comparison of the color the wood and the white space makes me focus on the painting without too much disruption from outside. With the comparison of the colors, the painting seems nor expend to the surroundings but go deep inside to the white space within the frame. When walking through the music room to the dining room, I saw three paintings of Piet Mondrian, with different styles, especially the comparison of Painting No. 9 and the Self- Portrait. When I was standing in front of the Self- Portrait which is Impressionism and looked back, I could see the Painting No. 9 far away on the wall of the music hall, which is Neo-Plasticism. Those two paintings both come from Piet Mondrian but form such a difference by the connection and the placement of two private rooms, creating the collision of the capture of a momentary of light and memory with the infinite imagination of spaces and elements. It is something like a discussion or a dialog between the Neo-Plasticism and the Impressionism, and this arrangement forms a context of comparison.

Painting No. 9 and the dining room

“Things become arts in a space where powerful ideas about arts focus on them”(O’Doherty, 1999). Even though the family house, to some extent, influence the understanding of the Piet Mondrian paintings, the Phillips Collection offers white and rigorous space to focus, without the influence of outside meanings and feelings. The Rothko Room is a space for wondering and creating an atmosphere for feeling the paintings. The paintings have no frame, no absolute limit, and no psychological container, but the room set up space, such like a frame, for the paintings, and the artist, and it is, therefore, set up the context of feeling the art. I thought each person have different feelings when they walk or sit in the room. However, the limited space of the room and bench form an environment of letting people immerse and saturate in it, and at the same time, can observe the details of the original paintings. The light of The Rothko Room is not so bright or so dim, so when I sit on the bench, the three paintings seems like forming a space of infinity. However, when I stood up and walk around the space, I could see the details of the paintings. There are small bright spots on the green pigment just like shining stars, and the original form of some dry pigment stick on the surface. The rough and random edge of the three paintings seems to transfer to the surroundings. The frame is unlimited, but the room offers a limited place and forms an infinite frame for the visitors to appreciate the work of the arts.


[1].  O’Doherty, B. (1999). Chapter One. In E. Editor (Ed.), Inside the white cube: The ideology of the gallery space. Berkeley: University of California Press. Retrieved from:

[2]. Daniel Buren. (1985).In E. Editor (Ed.), Function of the Museum. In Theories of Contemporary Art. Retrieved from:

Internet Unveils the Mask of the Muse

The Internet changed our life and society a lot in this new era. To this extent, technology shapes our society. The museum, as an important cultural interface in the network of the whole society, is undoubtedly influenced by the internet. Arthur Park once cautioned the museum that they had to change. Otherwise, the unchanged museums were “dead institutions” (Alexander, p.10). Therefore, many museums make full use of the internet and digital media to maximize their value and expose functionality.

On the one hand, the integration of the internet and the museum makes the art more accessible. Museum was originated from the word “muse.” “Muse” is not only the symbol of beauty but also the representative of mystery and unattainability. Internet uncovered the veil of the muse. First, People do not need to spend a lot of time (sometimes some money) on the way to the museum. If Chinese students want to learn some paintings of World War II, they can just enter into key words in Google Arts and Culture and may find Guernica in Museo Nacional Centro De Art.

It saved their time on the trip to Spain. From this perspective, the internet also helps to extend the educational function of the museum, which engages people from all over the world into “a global, international system or network of networks for Art” (Irvine, p.2). Anyone who is interested in art and museum can be connected to the museum node he or she wants to explore. They can both appreciate the art online and register some courses and tours provided by the museum just by clicking the button. Meanwhile, due to the accessibility of the artworks, the establishment of digitization and sharing standards of cultural relics, and the improvement of intellectual property protection system of cultural relics, a new kind of “virtual” museum beyond the space will appear. Different museums can easily get access to each other and hold a virtual online exhibition together. The function of the exhibition is strengthened.

On the other hand, the internet may change the exhibition experience. Take the No.9 painting as an example. We can learn some basic information about it on the webpage of the Philips Collection Museum. By clicking the “Enlarge” button, we can have a clear view of No.9. However, from my standpoint, only by visiting the museum and taking a close look to it can we have a better understanding of this piece of art. Firstly, I found that Mondrian used different black to separate the space. Those overlapping lines which I thought they were of the same color when I watched it online are different regarding their grayscale.

Different shades of color help to construct the sense of layering. Also, how the museum displays this painting also enrich my viewing experience. This work was hung on the latticed wall, completely blending into its background. Although this way of display contradicts the theory of White Cube which focus on removing artworks from any aesthetic context and eliminating the external influences, I still think the immersion experience reduce the distance between art and audience. The latticed wall magnifies the sense of space and unity in No.9. Rothko Room is another good example.

From the webpage, you may think his painting was the arrangement and combination of color blocks. But, if you walk into the room, viewing those painting within different distances, you may obtain an interesting experience. When I first viewed the painting from a far distance, I saw the violent collision between the blocks. Then, I took a close look; I suddenly felt that I was quite small in front of this huge paining and some kind of strong emotion swallowed me. I can feel the purity and the power of the painting. Nevertheless, we could not experience these feeling by watching the online works. The distance between the screen and eye partly negated the connection between the artworks and the audience. People’s online experience was affected by many external factors such as physical distance and computer configuration. From this aspect, the internet diminished the artistry and value of artworks.

The Internet is a double-edged sword for the museum. To what extent the museum use technology and digital media is the main concern. And with the development of digital media interfaces, how does the framework and boundaries of Art and non- Art change (Irvine, p.2)? Whether we can say that the deliberately designed webpage for us to view different artworks just like an online gallery can be regarded as a new category of Art?


Alexander, Edward P., Mary Alexander, and Juilee Decker. 2017. Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Functions of MuseumsRowman & Littlefield.

Martin Irvine, The Insitutional Theory of Art and the Artworld, Georgetown University CCT.

Daniel Buren, “Function of the Museum.” In Theories of Contemporary Art, edited by Richard Hertz, 2nd ed., 189–92. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1985.

O’doherty, Brian. 1999. Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space Univ of California Press.

Photo credits:


Yunhongyi Xu(Andrea)

A Reflection on the Reading and the Museum Visit

Yutong Zhang

This post can be divided into two parts. The first part is my thoughts and understanding on the artworks as interface inspired by the reading of this week. The second part is my experience in The Philipps Collection and the questions I have after visiting it.

Artworks that have survived history and been preserved in museums can be regarded as medium bridging modern people and history. To a certain extent, an artwork can epitomize a period of history, because artists, like sand in a river, are unavoidably influenced by the social context at their time. Each school of fine art is born in a unique historical environment. From this perspective, an artwork hung on the wall in a museum provides an opportunity for art explorers to have a conversation with artists across the time and to understand the big picture of a time through the small world depicted in an easel.

To think it from the angle of the social network system, an artwork which can be regarded as a node in the network-like artworld (Irvine, n.d.). An artwork might be interwoven in a huge network that interconnects to different groups of people and institutions, including artists, collectors, curators, patrons, dealers, art critics, museums and universities, etc. An artwork exhibited in a museum confirms the network pattern in the Artworld. On the one hand, it is obvious that the artwork is directly connected to the museum in this case. On the other hand, there is a chain of unaware connections underlying this single tie. According to Edward P. Alexander and Mary Alexander (2007), collection, conservation, research, exhibition, and education or interpretation are the main functions of museums. Furthermore, I believe that, though sometimes there might be an overlap, usually different functions can serve or involve different groups of people or institutions. For example, the collection function of the museum gratifies the collecting passion of collectors; the conservation function of the museum involves skilled conservators who have chemistry and physics knowledge; the research function of the museum serves researchers; the exhibition function serves mainly visitors; the education or interpretation function may involve students, professors or institutions like art schools and universities. In this perspective, the artwork exhibited in a museum can thus directly and also indirectly connect to all groups of people and institutions I mentioned above.

Walking in The Phillips Collection was a special experience. None of the museums I have been to is like The Phillips Collection, whose exhibition space includes both modern architecture and an old historical building. After we walk through the hallway connecting the new modern building to Phillips’ family house, the feeling suddenly changed. Historical ornaments and the modern lines and color blocks are so different that at first, it made me feel strange. I was familiar with the pattern that modernist artworks are exhibited in a large empty room where the labels on the white walls are the only ornaments. However, in the Music Room, Mondrian’s two artworks are hung on the wall with wooden lattice decoration, between which there is a huge fireplace delicately decorated in a very European way. This firstly reminds me that exhibition arrangement is also a critical factor in whether people could efficiently comprehend the artwork or the museum as an interface. Artworks have a conversation with other artworks in the exhibition room and also have a conversation with space where it is shown. Mondrian’s artworks in a historical building might be strange at the first glance but if people look at it more from the angle of network and interface, it is easy to realize that the seeming incoherence between the modern paintings and the historical ornaments is also bridging them. The combination of modernist art and historical building reflect on changes and different trends in the history of both fine art and architecture. It proves that my initial imagination for a modernist museum is cliché, and is framed by the knowledge that has been admitted by the mainstream, which apparently neglects other possible perspectives.

The short field trip to The Phillips Collection also made me come up questions about the influence of museums and problems arisen in this area. Buren (1985) argues that the museum marks its exhibition and imposes a frame on it. Does it also mark and frame people’s mindset in some way? Is it because we focus so much on the artworks hung on the walls in the museums that we usually ignore their identity as media in a broader social context? The online introduction of the Rothko Room in The Phillips Collection says: “Rothko visited the room and treasured the atmosphere. On a 1961 visit when Phillips was away, he asked the staff to make several small adjustments to the space. Phillips noticed—and reversed—the changes when he returned.” Thus, the authority is also a problem I am concerned: who has a say in the space of the museums, artists (of those exhibited artworks), the patrons, the collectors or curators or directors of the museums? Shouldn’t we respect the thought of artists the most?



Edward P. Alexander and Mary Alexander, Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums, Second Edition (Mountain Creek, CA; London, UK: Altamira Press, 2007).

Daniel Buren, “Function of the Museum.” In Theories of Contemporary Art, edited by Richard Hertz, 2nd ed., 189–92. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1985.

Martin Irvine, “Introduction to the Institutional Theory of Art and the Artworld.”

The Phillips Collection Website,


Yutong Zhang