Pictures at an Exhibition: Conflicting Pressures in Museums and the Display of Art

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Organizations face pressures from their environments. When exter- nal pressures conflict with each other or with internal desires, orga- nizational personnel face dilemmas. This article examines conflict- ing pressures in a setting where they are particularly salient: art museums. Various stakeholders, notably external funders and mu- seum curators, press for specific organizational outputs-that is, particular types of exhibitions. This research examines the format and content of exhibitions from large American museums to gauge the effect of funding. The research demonstrates that funders' im- portance increased between 1960 and 1986. Funder tastes are trans- lated into exhibitions; however, museum managers use several strategies to retain their autonomy and legitimacy.

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  • Victoria D. Alexander

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