Institutional Attitudes. Instituting Art in a Flat World - Pascal Gielen (ed.)

Regular price €20.00

Tax included.

Today’s networked society offers us many wondrous possibilities of information, communication, mobility, and flexibility. But it also has a latent side-effect: it makes the world ‘flat’. Time-honoured hierarchies, traditions, elites and canons are subject to eroding movements that have a tendency to always gravitate towards mediocrity. A rhizome is not a root, so it can hardly take root. In such a flattened, ‘horizontal’ world, art institutions are finding it hard to survive. After all, institutions traditionally represent ‘verticality': historic profundity, tradition, values, dignity, and certainty.

The democratization of art suggests that anyone can have an opinion about the quality of a work of art; and the popularization of democracy assures that the same value is attached to all statements about society. Neoliberalism, flowing freely through the veins of a global network, uses evidence- based policy, audits, modulation, and neo-management to guarantee the dominance of only one hierarchy: that of numbers, capital, quantities, which effectively makes every quality relative.

In Institutional Attitudes various authors explore the future identity of institutions in general and art institutions in particular. Will they be able to create profundity and height again? Is this desirable? And if so, what would these new vertical ways look like? Or is it better to develop horizontal strategies in order to react more advantageously to the flat world? These are the questions this book addresses, by looking at some of the values that are attributed to art institutes but are in danger of being lost in the current context, inlcuding: criticism, participation, responsibility and historical awareness.

‘When flatness rules, we all feel the need to stand up to get some air. It is exactly this breathing space that Institutional Attitudes hopes to create.’


Pascal Gielen

Kenny Cupers, Bart De Baere, Ann Demeester, Jimmie Durham, Alex Farquharson, Mark Fisher, Pascal Gielen, Marc Jacobs, Sonja Lavaert, Thijs Lijster, Isabell Lorey, Markus Miessen, Chantal Mouffe, Gerald Raunig, Patricia Reed, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Blake Stimson

Jane Bemont (Dutch-English)
Aileen Derieg (text Isabell Lorey)
April Lamm (text Markus Miessen & Hannes Grassegger)

Copy Editor
Jane Bemont
Els Brinkman

In cooperation with
de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam; M HKA, Antwerpen; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts, Tilburg; Arts in Society, University of Groningen

Supported by
BAM, Flemish institute for visual, audiovisual and media art, Gent; European Cultural Foundation, Amsterdam; Flemish-Dutch House deBuren, Brussels


21 x 13,5 cm (h x w), paperback