Reflections on how institutions inform art, curatorial, educational, and research practices while they shape the world around us.
Contemporary art and curatorial work, and the institutions that house them, have often been centers of power, hierarchy, control, value, and discipline. Even the most progressive among them face the dilemma of existing as institutionalized anti-institutions. This anthology–taking its title from Mary Douglas's 1986 book, How Institutions Think–reconsiders the practices, habits, models, and rhetoric of the institution and the anti-institution in contemporary art and curating. Contributors reflect upon how institutions inform art, curatorial, educational, and research practices as much as they shape the world around us. They consider the institution as an object ofienquiry across many disciplines, including political theory, organizational science, and sociology.
Bringing together an international and multidisciplinary group of writers, How Institutions Think addresses such questions as whether institution building is still possible, feasible, or desirable; if there are emergent institutional models for progressive art and curatorial research practices; and how we can establish ethical principles and build our institutions accordingly. The first part, “Thinking via Institution,” moves from the particular to the general; the second part, “Thinking about Institution,” considers broader questions about the nature of institutional frameworks.
Contributors includeNataša Petrešin Bachelez, Dave Beech, Mélanie Bouteloup, Nikita Yingqian Cai, Binna Choi and Annette Kraus, Céline Condorelli, Pip Day, Clémentine Deliss, Keller Easterling and Andrea Phillips, Bassam El Baroni, Charles Esche, Patricia Falguières, Patrick D. Flores, Marina Gržinic, Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, Alhena Katsof, Emily Pethick, Sarah Pierce, Moses Serubiri, Simon Sheikh, Mick Wilson
About the Author
Paul O'Neill is an artist, curator, educator, and writer, and has cocurated more than fifty exhibition projects around the world. The author of The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture (MIT Press) and coeditor of The Curatorial Conundrum: What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice? (MIT Press), he is Artistic Director of Publics, Helsinki.
Lucy Steeds is Pathway Leader in Exhibition Studies at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London, and editor of Exhibition (MIT Press/Whitechapel Gallery London). She is coeditor of The Curatorial Conundrum: What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice? (MIT Press).
Mick Wilson is an artist, educator, and writer based in Sweden and Ireland, and the first Head of the Valand Academy of Art, University of Gothenburg. He is coeditor of The Curatorial Conundrum: What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice? (MIT Press).