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Biomedicine in museums

Caterina Albano on Fear and Art in the Contemporary World — a good topic for a medical exhibition

By November 14, 2012No Comments

Caterina Albano is one of those interesting combined scholars-curators, who works on topics that any medical museum director would love to include in the portfolio.

Having a PhD background in Renaissance Studies, Albano focuses her research and curatorial work on projects that relate bioscience, art and culture and explore topics like the unconscious, the history of the body, neuroscience, and genetics; and she is also interested in the theory of curating. Her work as curator includes research of Spectacular Bodies at Hayward Gallery (2000) and Seduced as Barbican Art Gallery (2007), and she has co-curated exhibitions like Head On at Science Museum/Wellcome Trust (2002) and Crossing Over: art, science, biotechnologies at The Royal Institution (2008), and so forth.

Albano’s current interest is in the cultural history of emotions, which has now resulted in a book on Reaktion Books titled Fear and Art in the Contemporary World. It is one of those new releases that I spontaneously feel I would like to read, even though I haven’t read any reviews yet.

What triggers my interest in the book is that fear is apparently not my own private little problem but according to Albano is something that pervades contemporary Western societies: Fear of environmental destruction, fear of new technologies, fear of the ‘others’, of terrorists, paedophiles, cultural dissolution — and not least, of course, fear of disease and death.

According to Reaktion Books’ advertisement, she examines this ‘culture of fear’ in terms of an ‘aesthetics of fear’ and through the lens of contemporary art (drawing on a whole array of artists, most of whom I’ve never heard of before), and on the history of medicine, art and culture.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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