Curators at Victoria and Albert Museum are pushing the boundaries of collecting

tags: Victoria and Albert Museum



A pair of Primark cargo shorts made at a Bangladeshi sweatshop that collapsed last year, killing more than 1,100 people. The first 3-D printed handgun. An “Occupy Sandy” sign made by grass-roots organizers in New York after Hurricane Sandy.

These are among the objects going on view this month at the Victoria and Albert Museum here in separate exhibitions that push the boundaries of museum collecting and design. “Rapid Response Collecting,” which opened this past weekend, offers a new approach to how museums codify contemporary items as historical, while “Disobedient Objects,” which is to open on July 26, showcases material made by social movements worldwide.

The exhibitions operate like agents provocateurs inside the Victoria and Albert, Britain’s pre-eminent applied art and design museum, challenging visitors to rethink their relationship to everyday objects and consider the human costs behind items from mass-produced clothing to electronic cigarettes. The exhibitions also prompt a reconsideration of the social history of other items in the museum’s august collection.



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