‘Show Time: The 50 Most Influential Exhibitions of Contemporary Art’ Will Be Published on 17 February, 2014, Courtesy of Thames & Hudson

Show Time: The 50 Most Influential Exhibitions of Contemporary Art

By Jens Hoffmann

Publication by Thames & Hudson | 17 February 2014

Show Time is the first book to explore the recent history of exhibition- making, looking at the radical shifts that have taken place in the practice of curating contemporary art over the last twenty years. Tracing a history of the field through its most innovative shows, renowned curator Jens Hoffmann selects the fifty exhibitions from around the world that have most significantly shaped the practice of both artists and exhibition curators. Each of these shows has triggered profound changes in curatorial practice, and re-animated debates around contemporary art.

The book’s nine thematic sections focus on a huge variety of exhibitions, including those that have explored public space; reflected on globalization; engaged audiences in revolutionary ways; and brought into the gallery other disciplines such as theatre, architecture and science. The exhibition venues range across the globe, from the 4th Berlin Biennial (Germany), the 9th and 11th Istanbul Biennials (Turkey), ‘Sensation’ (UK), ‘An Unruly History of the Readymade’ (Mexico), ‘Cities on the Move: Contemporary Asian Art on the Turn of the 21st Century’ (Austria), the 2nd Johannesburg Biennial (South Africa), 30th Panorama (Brazil) and many more.

Show Time features more than 200 images, with installation views, floor plans and exhibition ephemera, many sourced from the archives and never previously published. Jens Hoffmann’s informative and insightful texts outline the premise and themes of each show and the impact it had, often supported by incisive quotations from the exhibition’s catalogue or curator. Each exhibition includes an invaluable section with key facts and figures, including the show’s curators, dates and locations, publications and a list of the artists involved.

The book concludes with a thought-provoking roundtable discussion on curating’s past, present and future, with leading curators including Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Gallery, London), Massimiliano Gioni (New Museum, New York), and the independent curators Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (Rome and New York) and Adriano Pedrosa (São Paulo).



Jens Hoffmann is an exhibition maker and writer based in New York. He is Deputy Director and Head of Exhibitions and Public Programs at The Jewish Museum, New York. He has curated and co-curated a number of large-scale exhibitions, including the 2nd San Juan Triennial (2009), the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), and the 9th Shanghai Biennial (2012)


Publication Date: 17 February, 2014

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