The Future of the Museum:
28 Dialogues by András Szántó

As museums shuttered during the 2020 novel-coronavirus pandemic, New York-based author and cultural strategist András Szántó conducted a series of virtual conversations with international museum leaders. At this pivotal moment, the directors spoke candidly about the challenges and untapped potential of art museums.

About the Book

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The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues reflects a rapidly growing, changing, and varied museum landscape in which dynamic experimentation is happening worldwide, with institutions in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Australia often leading the way in developing new models. It is a sector experiencing a moment of reckoning about inequality and social justice, pressed to achieve more diversity in staffing, governance, programming, interpretation, and collections. Meanwhile, the pandemic has exposed the underlying weakness of many museums’ temporary-exhibition-driven business models, as well as the limits of public and private support. The dialogues reveal the diverse ways in which the search is on for new sources of income, new ways to engage the public, new ways to run institutions.

28 dialogues with museum leaders from 14 countries.

What emerges from the series of in-depth conversations is a composite portrait of a generation of museum leaders working to make institutions more open, democratic, inclusive, experimental and experiential, technologically savvy, culturally polyphonic, attuned to the needs of their visitors and communities, and concerned with addressing the defining issues of the societies around them. The dialogues offer glimpses of how museums around the globe are undergoing an accelerated phase of reappraisal and reinvention.
Each of the twenty-eight conversations in the book explores a particular topic of relevance to art institutions today and tomorrow.
Museums & Political Power
Marion Ackerman

Director General, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) Dresden, Germany

The Public Realm
Cecilia Alemani

Director & Chief Curator, High Line Art, New York City, United States

Museum as Campus
Antov Belov

Director, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia

Lowering Barriers
Meriem Berrada

Artistic Director, Museum of Contemporary African Art Al Maaden (MACAAL),
Marrakesh , Morocco

Museums & Technology
Daniel Birnbaum

Director & Curator, Acute Art, London, United Kingdom

Museums & Public Trust
Thomas P. Campbell

Director & CEO, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, United States

Think Global, Act Local
Tania Coen-Uzzielli

Director, Tel Aviv Museum of Art (TAMA), Tel Aviv, Israel

Indigenous Voices
Rhana Devenport

Director, Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), Adelaide, Australia

Latin American Museums
María Mercedes González

Director General, Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (MAMM), Colombia

Max Hollein

Director, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, United States

Education & Inclusion
Sandra Jackson-Dumont

Director & CEO, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles, United States

Museums for a Better Future
Mami Kataoka

Director, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Visual Literacy
Brian Kennedy

Director & CEO, Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), Salem, Massachusetts, United States

Museums in Africa
Koyo Kouoh

Executive Director & Chief Curator, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa

Art & Biodiversity
Sonia Lawson

Founding Director, Palais de Lomé, Lomé, Togo

Quality in the XXI Century
Adam Levine

President, Director & CEO Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, United States

Museums for Everybody
Victoria Noorthoorn

Director, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (Museo Moderno), Argentina

Ecology & Slow Programmimg
Hans Ulrich Obrist

Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London, United Kingdom

Anne Pasternak

Director, Brooklyn Museum, New York City, United States

Adriano Pedrosa

Artistic Director, Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP), Brazil

Suhanya Raffel

Executive Director, M+ Museum, Hong Kong, China

Museum as Business
Axel Rüger

Secretary & Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Arts, London, United Kingdom

Immersive Experiences
Katrina Sedgwick

CEO & Director, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne, Australia

Franklin Sirmans

Director, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Florida, United States

Rethinking Art Museums in Asia
Eugene Tan

Director, National Gallery Singapore & Singapore Art Museum (SAM), Singapore

Philip Tinari

Director & Chief Executive, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China

The Post-Museum
Marc-Olivier Wahler

Director, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (MAH),
Geneva, Switzerland

Museums from Scratch
Marie-Cécile Zinsou

President, Fondation Zinsou/Musée de la Fondation Zinsou, Cotonou & Ouidah,
Republic of Benin

Selected Press & Programming

Feature: András Szántó on the Future of Museums

András Szántó spoke with Karen Rosenberg of apropos of his new book, The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues, for Artful.  Read More call_made

The Brooklyn Museum Virtual Roundtable: The Future of the Museum Dialogues

How do museums fit into the calls for social change that echo around the globe today? Learn about some exciting approaches to inventing and reinventing the museum with two back-to-back conversations in conjunction with the U.S. publication of museum strategist András Szántó’s book The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues. Szántó will be in conversation with Sandra Jackson-Dumont, director of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles andMarie-Cécile Zinsou, President and Founder of Benin’s Zinsou Foundation. Then, get an inside look into how museums are reshaping their institutions as Anne Pasternak speaks with Victoria Noorthoorn of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires and Franklin Sirmans of the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Read More call_made

The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues by András Szántó Released

The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues has just been released in Europe and will arrive in the US and worldwide in January 2021. A product of the pandemic lockdown, the book contains interviews with museum directors conducted from late May through mid-August, 2020. Taken together, the interviews offer a generational portrait of institutional leadership with a global range. “As one reads though the dialogues, a distinctive and more or less unifying philosophy emerges about what an art museum is and what it should aspire to be,” writes András Szántó writes in the introductory essay. “If the late twentieth century ushered in a liberating pluralism in art and cultural expression, it can only be hoped that the twenty-first century will do the same for the institutions of art. This sense of open possibility would be the ultimate guarantor of the enduring strength and relevance of the museum form.” Read More call_made

A new kind of museum is emerging—here’s what the future holds

Expanding upon the conversations in his new book about what the future holds for museums, in this article in The Art Newspaper, András Szántó surveys how museum leaders are shifting approaches and drawing conclusions from a difficult 2020. “2020 cemented the embrace of an expanded museum mission, already reflected in the International Council of Museums’s inconclusive attempt last year to come up with a new definition of the museum, one that goes beyond the custodianship of objects to position it as an institution committed to serving communities and addressing social needs. For today’s museum leaders, these two imperatives are not contradictory but complementary—and by all accounts, the Covid experience has deepened the sentiment.” Read More call_made

The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues review by Stefan Kobel in Handelsblatt

Stefan Kobel from Handelsblatt has published a review of the András Szántó’s new book, The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues. In it, Kobel writes, “The volume is a treasure trove of analyses, food for thought and models for the future. In addition, the respective introductions of the interviewees and their narratives from their own world of experience and biography make for exciting reading.” Read More call_made

Art Newspaper Podcast: Is the future of museums in Africa?

In this episode of the Art Newspaper podcast, The Week in Art, host Ben Luke looks at museums and Africa, exploring the future of museums and African institutions’ central role in in, as well as the 19th-century looting of the Benin Bronzes and what it tells us about museums and colonialism, then and now. Speakers include Sonia Lawson, the founding director of the Palais de Lomé in Togo, and András Szántó, on the occasion of his new book The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues. Read More call_made

ACMI on The Future of Museums

As part of the 2021 Melbourne Art Book Fair, András Szántó, Rhana Devenport, Suhanya Raffel, Katrina Sedgwick reflected on the unforeseen events of 2020 and discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the future of museums.  Read More call_made

András Szántó and Corinne Erni on The Future of the Museum

On February 12, Corinne Erni, Senior Curator of the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, and museum strategist and author András Szántó will come together in a live-stream conversation to discuss his new book, The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues. Read More call_made

Excerpt from The Future of the Museum on Lit Hub

Literary Hub has published “A Moment of Reckoning: Thomas P. Campbell and András Szántó on Museums and Public Trust,” an article featuring András Szántó’s interview with Thomas Campbell from The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues, published this past winter. In it, Campbell, who works as Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, considers cow institutions can be more inclusive.  Read More call_made

Technology & the Future of Museums

The role of the museum as a repository of physical objects that give access to collective memory is changing. New digital recording technologies that, among other things, allow exact facsimiles to be made, are providing access to a global audience, while new display technologies are inviting us to look at the nature of the object with new eyes. This panel, presented by the Art Newspaper and Factum Foundation with Il Giornale Dell’Arte, discusses the purpose of a museum, its role, what should it show, how and to whom. It will look at the way technology is making a ‘museum without walls’ possible and realigning the relationship between the original and the authentic. Read More call_made

Entrevista a András Szántó amb motiu del llibre The Future of the Museum. 28 Dialogues

L’any 2020, en un moment de crisi filosòfica i institucional i de trànsit cap a una nova era, el professor i assessor cultural András Szántó consagrava el seu temps de confinament a explorar el replantejament del futur dels museus. Read More call_made

The View from Up There: a Review of The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues by András Szántó

Robert J Weisberg reviews Andras Szanto’s book: “A 2020 leader-focused book on the future of museums is more than meets the eye”. Read More call_made

“As one reads though the dialogues, a distinctive and more or less unifying philosophy emerges about what an art museum is and what it should aspire to be…
If the late twentieth century ushered in a liberating pluralism in art and cultural expression, it can only be hoped that the twenty-first century will do the same for the institutions of art. This sense of open possibility would be the ultimate guarantor of the enduring strength and relevance of the museum form.”

–András Szántó

Jennifer Berndt, Hatje Cantz
Tel. +49 30 346 46 78-23
András Szántó Press

Distribution partners: D.A.P. (United States) and Thames & Hudson (Worldwide).
Image credits courtesy of the museums. Image captions here.