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(Un)Mapping Infrastructures: Transnational Perspectives on Modern Art, 1900-1970


Prof. dr. Gregor Langfeld



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

A series of separate workshops (2020–2022) 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.





Participating Institutions

University of Amsterdam

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Universität Zürich

University of the Arts Poznań

Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Munich).


Core 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. Marta Smolińska/ University of the Arts Poznań

Dr. Ursula Ströbele/Zentralinstitut für