The Imaginary Museum — Ben Eastham

This is an essential essay on contemporary art. The author takes us on a tour through a fictional contemporary art museum containing real artworks. He talks a bit about the works, offering insights that allow us to appreciate them more. It’s like wandering through a good art gallery, having a wide-ranging discussion with a hugely knowledgeable but somewhat cynical friend.

But lots of art critics write like that. However, Eastham is sceptical about the modern art industry and even more so about art criticism, and often goes off on entertaining tangents. The main premise is that this is a museum that he has constructed in his imagination, so you’re constantly evading security guards by going through hidden doors, and unexpectedly encountering things that he doesn’t remember including. It all adds to the fun. This is a fun book, but also learned and thought-provoking.

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