Alexander Kauffman. Manet, museum, modernism: Michel Foucault and modernist art history. Journal of Art Historiography Number 22 June 2020.
Michel Foucault’s writing transformed the field of museum studies. 1 As Kevin Hetherington reflected in a recent state-of-the-field volume, ‘Foucault can be seen as one of the two leading theoretical inspirations for critical museum studies since the 1980s [along with Pierre Bourdieu].’ 2 Foucault himself wrote little about the subject, but devoted substantial attention to the concurrent institutional formations of the prison, the clinic, and the asylum. Adaptations of those writings by Tony Bennett, Eilean Hooper-Greenhill, and other museum studies scholars triggered a reconfiguration of the field, sometimes known as ‘the new museology’ or ‘critical museum studies.’3 Instead of fading over time, Foucault’s presence has only grown as scholarship and public discourse around museums has increasingly focused on issues of power, authority, and subjectivity.