the tender institute (2012)

Elke Van Campenhout
Who’s afraid of the Institute?
In the whirlwind of changing subsidy policies, and political crisis, the Institute has become a
partner to be mistrusted. Paraphrasing Dorothy Parker you could say that the Institute in most
contemporary engaged art practices is ‘not one to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown
with great force.’ What has become clear from all the waves of institutional critique that have
fueled the visual arts production in the last decennia, is the Institute’s extreme flexibility to
reinvent itself, to recuperate and produce the ruling discourses, in a constant craving for the
new. The Institute in this understanding has become synonymous with capital power struggles,
with normative regulation of the arts scene, and with an unsavory attachment to a global
economy that creates and sustains inequality, poor labor conditions and a sanctimonious elitist
attitude towards knowledge and its distribution.
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