Artworks in Art Museums

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This essay gives an overview of what is involved in using practices to analyze art in art museums. It begins by discussing the general use of theories of practices in this context, drawing a contrast with actor-network theory. The essay then conceptualizes art and art museums as parts of material arrangements, which people encounter as they carry on certain practices. Topics considered include the polysemy of art works, their contributions to spatiality, the multiple relations that link practices and art works, and the materiality of the works (including the contribution this materiality makes to their identity). A final section examines art works in relation to social change. It argues that, although art works of the sorts found in museums only rarely are directly responsible for social change—art in this regard is a conserving force—, they can importantly contribute indirectly to social change by altering minds.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Art, Heritage, Law and the Market
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NameStudies in Art, Heritage, Law and the Market
ISSN (Print)2524-7425
ISSN (Electronic)2524-7433

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Artworks
  • Artworks and social change
  • Artworks as material objects
  • Identity and authenticity of artworks
  • Museums
  • Practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Law


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