16 03 07

Multitudes N° 28: Vers une nouvelle critique institutionnelle (Majeure)

The term "institutional critique" is associated with the works of artists like Michael Asher, Robert Smithson, Daniel Buren, Hans Haacke and Marcel Broodthaers, who examined in the 1970s the conditioning of artistic activity through the framework of museums, defined by media and commerce, with the objective of breaking this framework. But step by step this approach became an artistic "genre", solidly integrated in the system, until artists like Andrea Fraser, representative of a "second generation" of institutional critique in the 1990s, considered the institution as a non-exceedable framework or a field in the Bourdieusian meaning of the term that backs itself up precisly through its own critique. This seems to be a deadlock. Our proposal is to take a beering on and to define a "third generation" of institutional critique that breaks this disciplinary inclosure through works of investigation and experimentation by bringing other theoretical fields and practices into sight (psychiatry, technoscience, architecture, economy, etc.). Investigation on the ground of contemporary society in its dreadful complexity.

In situating him-/herself in another field in order to question its norms through the detour of an intervention, the type of artist that we are interested in searches at the same time a transformation of the art institution as well as remodelling its limits and objectives. His/her critique is destituent and instituent and touches upon the constraints and possibilities of contemporary governmentality.

The dossier includes texts with a general theoretical view as well as specific case studies. The Multitudes issue, which will be published in several different languages in a section of the Transform web-journal and includes papers by Eyal Weizman and Claire Pentecost on the criteria of a critical “bio art”, with reflections on works by Eduardo Kac, the Critical Art Ensemble and Brandon Ballangee; an examination of “instituent practice” by Gerald Raunig, with a closing focus on the urban intervention of Park Fiction in Hamburg; Brian Holmes exploring the newly minted genre of “finance art” in the work of the Derivart group, the performer Michael Goldberg, and the project Capturing the Moving Mind; a text by Suely Rolnik looking at the trans-generational relations between the abandonment of the museum space by the artist Lygia Clark, and the fluid inside/outside movement now practiced by politically oriented artists in Brazil; and finally, two philosophical essays, by Stefan Nowotny and Alice Pechriggl, exploring “the double meaning of destitution” in the political realm, and the “(de)formative powers of affect” in the collective imaginary.

The edition will be available mid March and is a cooperation of and

For more information as well as for french version see: