Curated by Ana Barajas
April 8 – May 21, 2011
Where I get uncomfortable is in the case of the externalization of the institution which lies in the work of Anne Ransden’s The Musée du quotidian/Museum of the Everyday (2009, ongoing) and Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez (in collaboration with Morrison and Chris Holman), Cultural (de)Centre for a Precarious Century (2011, ongoing). There is something eternally bourgeoisie about artists calling attention to the ‘everyday’ as something that is now important to pay attention to - as if the rest of us, in our hustle-bustle lives, are somehow missing out on the importance and meaning of what’s directly in front of our faces. This is an outdated responsibility of the artist to be a privileged inspired twat (again, I’m being dramatic). Sure, there’s plenty of literature and theory on the concept of the ‘everyday’ including Kaprow’s ideas about the blurring of art and life. What makes this more uncomfortable is not the blurring but the authority of the institution being applied beyond itself and onto the ‘everyday’; a dangerous one-way street. This institutional application, although already occurring through Big Brother, cannot possibly be spun as something that we should embrace, especially in the art world that thrives in the periphery.
In the Museum of the Everyday posters, the voice of the cultural institution is used as a tool through which the viewer can understand what’s being said, killing the power of individual opinion, inference and any possible honest awe over everyday experience. The institution is telling us what to pay attention to. I don’t care about a collection of people travelling to school or walking the dog or having a bath; I’m now dead inside. Cultural (de)centre employs the corporate ribbon-cutting ceremony as a tool to signify the inauguration of yet-to-be-claimed public spaces. In the exhibition space a monitor shows us stills and video of people cutting ribbons at rather non-descript sites, including domestic living rooms, restaurant kitchens, parks and back alleys in order to claim them as cultural spaces. If the project continues ad-infinitum, soon enough, all spaces will be institutionally claimed, and all of the everyday activities within will ossify and die according to Kaprow’s analogy.
These two projects suggest new boundaries of what is considered as institutionalized art and what isn’t, subsequently moving towards establishing institutional confusion. There is no outside in these projects, as the inside of the white cube regurgitates its insides into its surroundings. This means that an outside objective critique is so absorbed and indistinguishable from the inside that it fails to exist. Don’t do this. The outside is not the enemy – unless you think that making everything look the same may also eventually invert as to undermine the authority of the institution? Maybe? Graw says that “a constitutive outside is not only needed, but inevitable. Some things will always be left but, often deliberately: structurally speaking, every centre has its periphery.” (143) Despite institutional critique’s institutionalization, a superbly predetermined twist, a critique will always have room to exist. From this, I think that any projects which look to work the periphery into the centre are not only fighting a loosing battle, but are kidding themselves by thinking that they are in any way peripheral to begin with.
Don’t make the white cube into something more than it is – it doesn’t benefit any of us.
 I also believe that the curated re-contextualization of works (works that are taken up time and time again for exhibitions) produce a instable, fluctuating history that can eventually cause the works to loose their provenance and meaning. How many curatorial contexts were really necessary for the work of Jeff Wall before the audience didn’t know what the fuck was going on anymore?
Found in Institutional Critique and After: Volume 2 of the SoCCAS symposium, JRP/Ringier (Letzigraben, Zurich: 2006), Ed. John C Welchman