Art, culture, fashion in and out of the showcase

March 1st – September 8th, 2024
Free entry

The exhibition, curated by Katya Inozemtseva and Sara Rizzo, reflects on the traditional concept of the vitrine and its centrality in exhibition projects. In relation to the ‘classical museum display’, the display case separates and at the same time exposes the object, offering it for viewing, but creating a barrier for the viewer. In ethnographic museums in particular, the ‘neutralising’ effect of the display case affects the works, isolating them and depriving them of their original context and function.

The exhibition is preceded in the Permanent Collection by a special intervention by the contemporary artist Theo Eshetu (b.1958),The Crocodile on the Ceiling: a brand new work produced especially for MUDEC. By reversing vision, Eshetu reflects on the origins of the museum itself, which can be traced back to the Renaissance cabinets of curiosities.Brave New World, also by Theo Eshetu, is instead a kaleidoscope of moving images that makes the audience itself part of the work.

This is followed in the Focus rooms by a section devoted to the history of the display case in museum displays and its role as a means of classification, particularly in ethnographic collections. The theme of desire, on the other hand, is explored through the dreamlike images of the shop windows created by legendary designer and windows dresser Gene Moore for Tiffany and those of the displays by graphic designers Albe Steiner, Giancarlo Iliprandi and Roberto Sambonet for ‘la Rinascente’ in the second half of the 20th century.

The exhibition concludes with a focus on the display case in contemporary art practice, through works by Mark Dion (b.1961), Sam Durant (b.1961), and a site-specific installation by Monia Ben Hamouda (b.1991), which aims to deconstruct the practice of the display case and, metaphorically, the museum itself.

The exhibition is preceded by Luce dietro tracce incompiute by Mariana Castillo Deball (b.1975): in the iconic setting of the Agora: in the museum’s glass atrium, the seven textile sculptures – inspired by pieces from the MUDEC collections, create an inverted situation in which the public finds itself, along with the works, inside an imposing display case.

The exhibition is also enriched by a rich programme of events that allow us to reflect on some of the key concepts of the exhibition and to leave the museum through public art.

Finally, the Exposure project will be illustrated in the second issue of the magazine “MU – MUDEC United”, which, in keeping with its editorial style, will propose in-depth articles on the theme of the exhibition.

Artists featured in the exhibition: Monia Ben Hamouda, Mark Dion, Sam Durant, Theo Eshetu, Damien Hirst, Candida Höfer, Giancarlo Iliprandi, Gene Moore, Roberto Sambonet, Albe Steiner.

March 1st – September 8th, 2024
Monday 2.30pm – 7.30pm
Tuesday – Wednesday – Friday – Sunday 9.30am – 7.30pm
Thursday – Saturday 9.30am – 10.30pm

Mudec – Museo delle Culture
Via Tortona 56, Milan

From March to June 2024, a series of key themes will be explored through workshops and talks: cultural appropriation, the exhibition of bodies; theft and illegal activities involving works of art; the ambivalence of the display case, which safeguards, protects and preserves the object, while at the same time depriving it of its function of use and its cultural and ritual value.

There will be practical workshops and face-to-face meetings with internationally renowned professionals, museum directors, lecturers and university researchers.

Finally, thanks to the consolidated collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in Los Angeles, MUDEC will host the international symposium “Public Art Inside Out” (7-8 May 2024), which will focus on themes related to public art: these include the monumental plinth, a device which, like the vitrine, enhances the value of objects and catalyses the viewer’s vision.

Mark Dion
Raiding Neptune’s vault. Voyage to the Bottom of the Canals and Lagoons of Venice, Installation Cabinet B
display cabinet, containing shards, glass, iron, plastic
Milan, Private collection

Historical showcaseem
first half of the 20th century
wood and glass
Milan, MUDEC – Museo delle Culture

Roberto Sambonet
Sketch for the display of the “Glamour. Season opening” of La Rinascente
collage and pencil on cardboard
Milan, Roberto Sambonet Pictorial Archive

Cesare Fiori
Cabinet of art and curiosities of Manfredo Settala in Milan (graphic elaboration)
Milan, MUDEC – Museo delle Culture



The Permanent Collection
may be subject to closure on
Friday, March 8th,
because of a strike by the hall staff.
We apologize for any possible inconvenience.


The exhibitions Rodin and dance
and Martin Parr. Short & Sweet
will be regularly open.