Faced with waning state support, declining revenue, and forced entrepreneurialism, museums have become a threatened public space. Simultaneously, they have assumed the role of institutional arbiter in issues of social justice and accountability. The canon of Institutional Critique has responded to the social embeddedness of art institutions by looking at the inner workings of such organizations. In ‘After Institutions’, Karen Archey expands the definition of Institutional Critique to develop a broader understanding of contemporary art’s sociopolitical entanglements, looking beyond what cultural institutions were to what they are and what they might become.
Karen Archey is Curator of Contemporary Art at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Since joining the Stedelijk Museum in April 2017, Archey has organized solo exhibitions by artists Rineke Dijkstra, Stefan Tcherepnin, Catherine Christer Hennix, Steffani Jemison, Metahaven, Jeff Preiss, Charlotte Prodger, and Hito Steyerl. She has written numerous catalogue essays and is a contributor to several art publications, including Artforum and Frieze.