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This research group focuses on the infrastructures of modern art from a transnational perspective.

Description of the research group

The original meaning of “infrastructure” (from the Latin infra, and structura) refers to a substructure or ground, and to static constructions which, like nodal points, establish important lines of connection and guarantee supply. Applied to the arts, the term may be said to designate institutions such as museums, exhibition venues, biennials, and universities but also funding institutions, publishers, and other (academic) authorities that contribute to relevant discourses, networks, and the publicizing of art.

Taking a transnational, non-Eurocentric perspective, the goal of this group is to critically question these infrastructures in the modern era, as well as to examine their possible alternatives. It will ask specifically about blind spots, neglected peripheries, and the forgotten margins of history, moving our understanding of modern art production beyond the dominant canon and narrative. Orders, spaces, and actors will be mapped in specific case studies in order to survey the infrastructural field anew.

Envisaged results

A series of separate workshops (2021–2025) will discuss themes such as production, transport, collecting, exhibition and display, promotion, publishing and critical discourse, and avoidance and appropriation, with an eye to producing a two-volume publication. The core group of this research network brings together scholars from the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Switzerland and welcomes especially contributions to the workshops and publication from researchers outside of Western Europe and North America.

Group Type: Network group
Duration: 2021–2025

Group Coordinator

Prof. dr. G.M. (Gregor) Langfeld

Faculty of Humanities

Capaciteitsgroep Kunstgeschiedenis

Members of the research group

Prof. Dr. Burcu Dogramaci (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Dr. Rachel Esner (University of Amsterdam)
Prof. Dr. Bärbel Küster (Universität Zürich)
Prof. Dr. Gregor Langfeld (University of Amsterdam and Open University, Heerlen (group initiator))
Prof. Dr. Christa-Maria Lerm-Hayes (University of Amsterdam)

Prof. Dr. Lynn Rother (Leuphana University Lüneburg) 

Dr. Annabel Ruckdeschel (Justus-Liebig-University Giessen) 

Prof. Dr. Marta Smolińska (University of the Arts Poznań)
PD Dr. Ursula Ströbele (Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte)

Institutional or professional partners

  • University of Amsterdam
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

  • Universität Zürich

  • University of the Arts Poznań
  • Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Munich)
  • Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
  • Leuphana University Lüneburg.