FOR ALL THE ATTENTION being paid to the boom in museum construction and the intense competition among blockbuster exhibitions, the emergence of a new way of organizing the permanent collections at the heart of major institutions has received little press. While the Centre Pompidou, Paris, claims that their current “Big Bang” reinstallation of their collection is the first thematic grouping of its kind, encyclopedic museums around the world have recently been experimenting with innovative presentations of their vast holdings. In London, the Tate Modern’s attempt to use themes rather than chronology to organize its artworks is already seeing its first revision. Director Malcolm Rogers is preparing the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for a Norman Foster–designed expansion that will reflect his reorganization and integration of the museum’s different departments in 1999. And the new de Young
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