I is for

Institute

I is for

What’s in a name? This is the question underlying our investigation into ICA: how it came to be, what it means now, and how we might imagine it in the future.

Support for the research and development of I is for Institute has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. © 2017–18 Institute of Contemporary Art. All rights reserved.

Institute

Introduction

The phrase “I is for Institute” is at once a declaration, a prompt, and a position...

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Conversations

  • 05.17.19

    We don't fall victim to the stereotypes or categories that exist within the art world—whether or not you have an education, or you are disabled, or you are of a certain race, color, sexuality, etc. We show good work, serious work, by people who are engaged with serious ideas.”

  • 05.01.19

    In a way, we are trying to develop an institutional form that emerges from a practice of making and collaborating; from a process rather than a defined structure.”

  • 04.16.19

    One of the things that I'd been thinking about in equity and inclusion work is that we're learning and growing, but that we need to utilize connections with people who have already been invested in this type of work.”

  • 03.25.19

    I think new models should be, and need to be, invented. If we're going to develop projects that are independent of the market, we need to have public support.”

  • 03.12.19

    My commitment to working with women artists, artists of color, and queer-identifying artists is something that would be consistent wherever I am. That commitment is to my peers and colleagues as well as to under-recognized artists within institutions, and not just in a tokenistic way, but something we are actually building into the DNA of the institution.”

  • 03.11.19

    We’ve created our own monster with all of this institutional critique, and it went to another place where institutions started to embed some of that ethic, or were founded based on that ethic, but the public ultimately didn’t see the work that we do in institutions. While there are frustrations that arise from these points of tension, revealing all of this and holding institutions accountable is really important.”

  • 01.29.19

    I’ve never been more assured and confident in the power of art. In such a chaotic world now, I think art is really that last thing that we can hold onto. It is the place where we can make differences.”

  • 01.24.19

    I haven’t found a vaccine yet for the institution, but I’m trying...What can be done in an institution? How can you break the rules, and what happens when you break the rules? It doesn’t have to be in the space; it can happen outside. Howe can we research and give something back to the audience?”

  • 01.08.19

    I always think art works better in the long-run. Building critical content takes time, but it is important to always take the temperature of the context and position yourself ethically and politically.”

  • 12.07.18

    I do not feel like I’ve done my job if only four people have come in to see the exhibition. Because we have a broader platform, and we have more resources, and we have more captivity, and we have more staff, we have a responsibility to get a broad audience and as many people as possible that have never been to a museum.”

  • 09.19.18

    I’ve been really interested in thinking about internal measures of success for institutions and the satisfaction of coming to work and doing one’s job and the collegiality and the social relationships that form in an institution.”

  • 08.27.18

    One of the most dramatic shifts in the art world in the last 20 years is that the centrality of New York is no longer taken as a given. It has opened a lot of space, I think, for other cities, other regions, to emerge.”

  • 08.21.18

    We are an institution. I think you can’t escape it. We’re all the elements of an institution, but can we be an innovative, new approach to an institution? That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”

  • 08.16.18

    One of the things I feel like I’ve learned from artists is that art is not necessarily in the problem-solving business. It is not always there to prove a point or resolve an injustice, but to complicate the terms or complicate what a 'problem' or a 'solution' might even consist of.”

  • 08.15.18

    People understand who you are based on what you do, not based on your mission statement. Your mission statement can be aspirational and can hold all those things.”

  • 08.08.18

    I see the institution as a muscle that gets its strength from the fantastic people working here.”

  • 07.26.18

    For me, the institution is about mediation and an exchange of communication. The institution is about time. It’s about losing time. It’s about giving a different reality. It’s about reflection.”

  • 07.18.18

    How do you change the way an institution thinks? You change it through the way that individuals think.”

  • 07.10.18

    We've often used the phrase 'events, not objects,' to talk about what we do.”

  • 07.09.18

    We haven’t tried to cubbyhole ourselves, which has left us free to try and do things, whatever we felt was part of this larger mandate.”

  • 07.03.18

    As a curator, I see myself as a mediator working to find and present different access points to an artist’s work. How can we create more avenues for people to enter the work that the artist may not think of? In our role of intermediary between artist and public, how can we create more channels of connections with people?”

  • 06.28.18

    Deploying the word institute was meant to emphasize how focused we are on exhibitions and public programming.”

  • 06.11.18

    Sometimes as curators, as institutions, we have to be door-to-door salesmen, stepping out of the white cube, bringing art and ideas to the street.”

  • 06.09.18

    The core idea is to create collective spaces and find ways of coming together and develop confidence among art practitioners about what they do and how they contribute to complex issues.”

  • 05.31.18

    I like the idea that the institute is a place of learning, and not just a place of learning, but it’s a place of constructing pedagogy.”

  • 05.30.18

    What's interesting about Asia Art Archives...is that while it has a scholarly side, it's also very focused on contemporary art and feels much more in dialogue with what's happening with artists.”

  • 05.21.18

    You don’t need to see the gallery as a place that validates something as art. You can actually introduce so many different kinds of practice.”

  • 04.10.18

    If our job as an organization is to create relationships between artists and audiences, how can we be legible and transparent? How do we make transparent what it is that an artist does?”

  • 05.03.17
  • 03.15.17
  • 02.22.17
  • 01.10.17

    Being creative and making a difference at the level of the institution is rewarding and fun. We can make the institution we want to see. And the institution necessarily has to change as the situation changes.”

  • 12.05.16

    We’re not art-centric as much as we’re curiosity driven.”

  • 10.15.16

    Kunsthalle Lissabon was simultaneously the result of a desire to create the working conditions that we could stand for, but it was also this reflection on the power of language when it tries to institute something.”

  • 10.15.16

    At a certain point, we started thinking, 'Okay, so do we produce relationships? What are these relationships we're producing and how is that something that is relevant, or how does that become visible?”

  • 10.15.16

    I like the idea of shifting the meaning of the word [institution] that everyone is taking for granted. What would happen if that is not a noun, if it’s a verb? What could it mean to institute for contemporary art? Or to institute contemporary art?”