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The Transitory Museum

The Transitory Museum

Emanuele Coccia, Donatien Grau

ISBN: 978-1-509-53307-7

Feb 2019, Polity

140 pages


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Throughout modernity there has been a clear divide between art and commerce. Objects could either be consumed as commerce or contemplated as art. Today, as museums are facing increasing financial pressure and as stores have become inventive locations for the conception of new modes of display, this clear divide has shifted.

One place signifies a key stage in this evolution: 10 Corso Como. It was founded in Milan at that very address in 1991 by fashion editor Carla Sozzani and has since expanded to Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai and New York. The name “concept store”, which has now spread across our globalised world, was originally coined to describe this new form. It brings together objects for sale, artworks, books, clothes, accessories, and even souvenirs in a unique location, blending commerce and contemplation, fashion and art.

Stemming from a case study of this genre-defining entity, this first philosophical inquiry into a store aims to shed a new light on how categories that have governed our modern social, economic, political and individual lives, such as commerce, art, fashion, museum, are being redefined today. It calls on us to re-engage with what we long considered to be separate: transcendence and immanence, human beings and their objects.

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  • Foreword. In Action
  • Chapter 1. Absolute Commerce
  • Chapter 2. The Eternal and the Ephemeral
  • Chapter 3: The Confines of Fashion
  • Postface. At Calm
  • Notes

“Emanuele Coccia and Donatien Grau's insightful account of 10 Corso Como presents a model where multiple disciplines do not just sit side-by-side but blend together holistically under one roof. This is a compelling case study of a transitional and ever-shifting space that is wholly in tune with the rhythm and pace of our time.”
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London