19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, No 11 (2010)

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The Curatorial Turn in the Darwin Year 2009

Julia Voss


The concept of the 'curatorial turn' was originally coined by Daniel Birnbaum, director of the 2009 Venice Biennale, and denoted interest in the exhibition as an alternative to the book by contemporary philosophers such as Jean-François Lyotard and Bruno Latour. During the 2009 Darwin anniversary, exhibitions revealed the most surprising insights in Darwin scholarship. 'Darwin and the Search for Origins' in Frankfurt and 'Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts' in New Haven and Cambridge demonstrated the Darwinian component in Western twentieth-century visual culture at large. Through the exhibition format they unearthed the diversity of visual rhetorics of Darwinism in the nineteenth century and showed how evolutionary theory became the new mythology of the coming age.

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