Book Review: Show Time

Show Time

Art is a story so expansive that seemingly narrow subjects take up whole libraries. Consider Show Time: The Most 50 Influential Exhibitions of Contemporary Art a helpful librarian who points you toward the best of the contemporary collection.

Author Jens Hoffman, director of The Jewish Museum, argues that curation is now a relevant creative act unto itself—not just a sub-discipline of the arts. His thoughtful picks include unseen archival photographs of the world’s most progressive and characteristic works. It’s essentially an exhibition of exhibitions.

And the selection criteria is sound, with examples ranging from the 1988 birth of Frieze London to the exhibition, Places with a Past, which proved art could celebrate marginalized audiences and thrive in non-traditional spaces. Hoffman’s picks rose from the fade-out of the Cold War, marking a new era of exhibitions that are as cross-disciplinary and self-aware as they are intriguing.