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FROM THE CRITIQUE OF INSTITUTIONS TO AN INSTITUTION OF CRITIQUE

NEARLY FORTY YEARS AFTER THEIR FIRST APPEARANCE, the practices now associated with “institutional critique” have for many come to seem, well, institutionalized. Last spring alone, Daniel Buren returned with a major installation to the Guggenheim Museum (which famously censored both his and Hans Haacke’s work in 1971); Buren and Olafur Eliasson discussed the problem of “the institution” in these pages; and the LA County Museum of Art hosted a conference called “Institutional Critique and After.” More symposia planned for the Getty and the College Art Association’s annual conference, along with a special issue of Texte zur Kunst, may very well see the further reduction of institutional critique to its acronym: IC. Ick.

In the context of museum exhibitions and art- history symposia such as these, one increasingly finds institutional critique accorded the unquestioning respect often granted

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