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14 The New York Cloisters: A Forgery?

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Chapter Summary

Museums, as relatively recent cultural phenomena, can be said to establish new contexts for the works of art, the context of museal presentation. An exception is modern "museal art": objects that were produced with the intention to be sooner or later displayed in a museum. In contrast to "museal art" of which the museum is the ideal context and function, for the majority of older works the museum is not their primary and original place. The museum itself is the prime example of the necessary change and transformation of the original intent and function. Even if the altar remains in its original site in the surviving old church, it is subject to a kind of musealization by the aesthetic, scholarly, historical, and touristic approach to it. This chapter explores one of its most peculiar examples, the Cloisters in New York City, having always been intrigued by this issue.

Keywords: Cloisters; cultural phenomena; museal art; museum; New York



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