Art institutions are also ruled by neoliberal mechanisms, which enforce ceaseless competition for audiences, visibility, standing and money.
This results in overproduction of short-term projects, staff burnout, exhaustion of artists, and erosion of the artistic community, and hinders farsighted involvement in debates that are key to the future of the society. A problem like climate catastrophe cannot reasonably be addressed within a single season. It requires strategic thinking. The Mission of the Institution working group examines possibilities for disrupting the established rules of play, raising for debate the most important issues for the functioning of the institution. How to move beyond the model of the exhibition as a one-time show? How to build the profile of an institution based on post-growth principles and not constant expansion? How can the institution foster the entire artistic ecosystem, support artists without falling into the vicious circle of temporary projects and one-off transactions? How to establish and maintain relations with the public, not in the sense of a collection of consumers but as fellow citizens? How to cooperate with social movements? How to put the museum to good use, exploiting its amassed knowledge, archives, collection, artistic and curatorial competences? How can the museum build horizontal networks of cooperation with other institutions, NGOs, private entities, and informal collectives from larger or smaller locales, which would work to the advantage of all and not just the strongest players?
The task of the working group is to rethink the mission of an art institution, with particular attention to the crisis—political, social, climatic, economic and pandemic—we currently find ourselves in. The group’s aim is not to draft manifestos or float critical diagnoses of the situation (although that is an element of our work). The idea behind the venture is more modest: focusing on practical aspects of the institution’s operations and proposing solutions that are capable of implementation here and now.