Since their inception in the eighteenth century, art museums—prestigious buildings commissioned by those who wield power and influence—have behaved like cultural barometers registering changing attitudes about the role cultural institutions play in society. Looking at museum buildings from the inside out, this seminar traces the evolution of this building type through an in-depth analysis of its key architectural elements: gallery, interstitial (circulation, assembly, retail) and infrastructure (security/climate control) spaces, and site. This seminar explores how the spatial and material development of these tectonic components both mirrors and perpetuates changing cultural attitudes about aesthetics, class, power, wealth, nature, leisure, gender, body, and the senses as seen through the eyes of artists, architects, critics, collectors, and politicians. Topics include gallery spectatorship from the Renaissance picture frame to the modernist white cube; shifting sites from palace to park to repurposed industrial structures; urban renewal, gentrification, and the postwar museum; starchitecture and the trophy museum; cruising: museums as social condensers to see and be seen; multimedia artistic practices and information technologies; and new typologies, such as biennials, art fairs, private collections, and retail hybrids. Limited enrollment.