'Making a Modern Museum: Experience, Interpretation and the The National Portrait Gallery in the new millennium', Visual Culture in Britain, vol. 3(2) 2002: 1-16
Lottery-funded new displays and the opening of Tate Modern fueled a lively critical debate about museum hangs at the turn of the millennium, and I co-convened a session on the topic at the 2001 Association of Art Historians annual conference. Having studied intensely the views and practices of nineteenth-century museum curators, I was keen to try my hand (and turn my eye) to the evaluation of contemporary practices of art display - and Nicolas Serota's published Neurath lecture 'Experience or Interpretation?' provided a particularly provocative starting point. Was it possible that the National Portrait Gallery, very infrequently identified with 'modern' art, had trumped Tate Modern in terms of a vigorous and rigorous programme of art display? I certainly wanted to argue the point.