PRINT Summer 2010

Chantal Mouffe

Ines Doujak, Sin título, 2002, color photograph. From “How Do We Want to Be Governed?”

IT IS BY PUTTING THE MUSEUM in the context of radical democratic politics that I wish to address the question of its role today, considering in particular ways in which art institutions could foment new subjectivities critical of neoliberal consensus. More generally, I want to take issue with the negative way public institutions are perceived by the mode of radical critique fashionable today: Celebrating “desertion” and “exodus,” to use the terminology of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri—whose writing recently appeared in these pages—such critique asserts that political action should withdraw from existing institutions so that we might free ourselves from all forms of belonging. Institutional attachments are presented here as obstacles to new, nonrepresentative forms of “absolute democracy” suitable for the self-organization of the multitude. Yet such an approach forecloses

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