Curator James Putnam, founder of the British Museum’s Contemporary Arts and Cultures Program and author of Art and Artefact: The Museum as Medium, in conversation with Zoë Gray about artists who explore museology.

In much of his work, Jungen plays with museological presentation, undermining the museum’s claims to authoritative truth. Curator James Putnam has worked extensively with artists who make critical interventions into museum spaces or who adopt the role of curator in order to reveal the way in which museological presentation assigns meaning to work, both contemporary and historical.

James Putnam is an independent curator and writer. He founded and was curator of the British Museum’s Contemporary Arts and Cultures Programme. His book Art and Artifact The Museum as Medium (2000) surveys the interaction between contemporary artists and the museum. Putnam will be in conversation with assistant curator Zoë Gray, giving illustrated examples of artists who work in a similar way to Brian Jungen and exploring how this can open up larger questions of institutional critique.

Putnam’s interest in contemporary art and museum collections began with his 1994 groundbreaking exhibition Time Machine, which involved juxtaposing works by contemporary artists with ancient sculpture in the British Museum?s Egyptian Gallery. He has since curated an ongoing series of critically acclaimed exhibitions with contemporary artists at the Freud Museum, London and at the Petrie Museum, University College London. He was appointed visiting scholar in Museum Studies at New York University 2003/4 and is currently Senior lecturer in Curatorial Studies at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London.