Book Review | Virtuality and the Art of Exhibition: Curatorial Design for the Multimedia Museum by Vince Dziekan

Previously published by Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) Reviews in September 2012.

cover of virtuality and the art of exhibitionThe use of digital media is greatly impacting curatorial design of exhibitions in museums and galleries. In Virtuality and the Art of Exhibition: Curatorial Design for the Multimedia Museum, Vince Dziekan attempts to foster an understanding of how the curatorial design process has evolved to incorporate digital technology. Dziekan surveys existing field literature and provides detailed descriptions of specific exhibitions that have implemented multimedial design.

Dziekan draws solid ties between relevant field literature and thoughtfully connects themes throughout the book. Though several of the articles cited seem slightly dated, they appear to be standard field works. As articles are being written frequently in this popular area, it would be nearly impossible for a published text to be able to include all of the most current literature. Though the author is clearly well-versed in his topic, his wordy and complicated prose made the text difficult to follow at times. Concise and clear explanations would have benefitted readers trying to understand new concepts and ideas.

The book’s organizational structure provides an easy path for the reader to follow and allows for jumps between sections without the need to read them in order. The end of each chapter has a detailed notes section, and the bibliography is very complete. The book does not include an index, but the table of contents serves the purpose adequately. The dimensions, texture, and paper quality make the format and physical characteristics of this book appealing, and the binding is solid.

Dziekan supplies visual examples in the form of grayscale images, mostly reproductions of photos, which work well with the text. It would have been helpful to have incorporated better quality reproductions of some images, with a few in color. Dziekan does not identify a specifically intended audience, but the book would be relevant for curators or other individuals involved in, or looking to learn about, the production of an exhibition involving digital technology. Academic libraries with museum studies programs or museum libraries that are new to incorporating multimedial pieces in their exhibits could benefit from this text.


About amy de simone
Amy is an active volunteer, traveler and photographer. She is interested in art, libraries, museums and nonprofits. She holds an M.A. in Library & Information Studies and a B.A. in Italian Language & Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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