Imagined Museums examines the intertwined politics surrounding art and modernization in Morocco from 1912 to the present by considering the structure of the museum not only as a modern institution but also as a national monument to modernity, asking what happens when museum monuments start to crumble.
In an analysis of museum history, exhibition policy, the lack of national museum space for modern art, and postmodern exhibit spaces in Morocco, Katarzyna Pieprzak focuses on the role that art plays in the social fabric of a modernizing Morocco. She argues that the decay of colonial and national institutions of culture has invited the rethinking of the museum and generated countermuseums to stage new narratives of art, memory, and modernity. Through these spaces she explores a range of questions: How is modernity imagined locally? How are claims to modernity articulated? How is Moroccan modernity challenged globally?
In this first cultural history of modern Moroccan art and its museums, Pieprzak goes beyond the investigation of national institutions to treat the history and evolution of multiple museums—from official state and corporate exhibition spaces to informal, popular, street-level art and performance spaces—as cultural architectures that both enshrine the past and look to the future.