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Paperback | $32.95 Trade | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780262516648 | 512 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 60 b&w illus.| September 2011

Institutional Critique

An Anthology of Artists' Writings


"Institutional critique" is an artistic practice that reflects critically on its own place within galleries and museums and on the concept and social function of art itself. Such concerns have always been a part of modern art but took on new urgency at the end of the 1960s, when--driven by the social upheaval of the time and enabled by the tools and techniques of conceptual art--institutional critique emerged as a genre. This anthology traces the development of institutional critique as an artistic concern from the 1960s to the present, gathering writings and representative art projects of artists who developed and extended the genre. The artists come from across Europe and throughout the Americas; the texts and artworks included are notable for the range of perspectives and positions they reflect, and for their influence in pushing the boundaries of what is meant by institutional critique.

About the Editors

Alexander Alberro is Virginia Bloedel Wright '51 Associate Professor of Art History at Barnard College. He is the author of Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity (2000), and coeditor (with Blake Stimson) of Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology (2000), both published by the MIT Press.

Blake Stimson is Professor of Art History at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of The Pivot of the World: Photography and Its Nation (2004), and coeditor (with Alexander Alberro) of Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology (2000), both published by the MIT Press.


“It has no doubt changed the art world, and for the better in many cases.” — Amy Ione, Leonardo Reviews


"This is a long overdue anthology that brings together a judicious selection of canonical artists' writings, while expanding this established frame to consider episodes in South America and Eastern Europe. Alberro and Stimson cover a variety of critical modalities, including the exhibition as a frame, the economic circulation of art, and approaches to audience. The final section controversially inscribes recent tactical media projects into this history as the contemporary iteration of institutional critique. This will be essential reading for, and generative of further criticism by, artists, curators, and art historians invested in the legacy of this practice."
Claire Bishop, CUNY Graduate Center, New York

"This volume performs the much-needed task of mapping the multiple trajectories of artists committed to institutional critique—from their excoriation of the museum to their skepticism about the category of art; from the feminist critiques of mastery and genius to the refutation of the hegemony of whiteness by artists of color. For over four decades these artists and critics have rejoiced in anti-authoritarian strategies, and, with a profound sense of love and possibility, have bravely suggested that the idea of art, far from being timeless, demands and deserves to be renewed and reimagined over time and space."
Helen Molesworth, Houghton Curator of Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museum