Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art History

Reader 1

Kathleen Howe

Reader 2

Mary MacNaughton

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Rights Information

© 2017 Mary R Chawaga


Museums are culturally constructed as places dedicated to tastemaking, preservation, historical record, and curation. Yet the contemporary isn’t yet absorbed by history, so as museums incorporate contemporary art these commonly accepted functions are disrupted. Through case studies, this thesis examines the successes and failures of three New York museums (MoMA, Dia:Beacon and New Museum) as they grapple with the challenging, perhaps irresolvable, tension between the contemporary and the very idea of the museum.