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Conversations · Exhibition-Related

“What Happened to the Institutional Critique?”: James Meyer and Renée Green in conversation

Cover Image:

Renée Green, Secret, 1993. Courtesy the artist and Free Agent Media

In the fall of 1993, the art historian James Meyer curated a group show entitled “What Happened to the Institutional Critique?” at American Fine Arts gallery in SoHo. Responding to “the generalization of the political” at the 1993 Whitney Biennial, Meyer gathered together an emerging generation of artists engaged in critical practices around institutions, including, but not limited to, museums. In the wake of postmodernism and on the cusp of globalization, Meyer’s exhibition, like the artists whose work he selected, interrogated the status of institutions as well as critique in the 1990s.

One of the key figures in Meyer’s show was Renée Green, whose work had also been included in the 1993 Whitney Biennial. At American Fine Arts, Green presented materials related to her project “Secret,” first realized earlier that year in Firminy, France. Since the early 1990s, Green has worked with film and video, digital media, architecture, and text to investigate circuits of relation and exchange over time, and she focuses on the effects of a changing transcultural sphere on what can now be made and thought. This conversation between Meyer and Green will return to their interrelated projects from 1993 to reflect on and assess what has happened to these critical practices over the past twenty years.

Renée Green is an artist, filmmaker, and writer. She is currently Associate Professor at MIT where she is the Director of the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology.

James Meyer is currently a curator in the Department of Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art and Adjunct Professor of Art History at Johns Hopkins; he was formerly the Winship Distinguished Research Associate Professor at Emory University.

Organized in collaboration with ICI as part of a series of conversations on landmark exhibitions in 1993.


Support for the exhibition is provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Additional funding is provided by Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte, and the Robert Mapplethorpe Photography Fund.

The accompanying exhibition publication is made possible by the J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum.

This program is made possible, in part, through the support of the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Education and public programs are made possible by a generous grant from Goldman Sachs Gives at the recommendation of David B. Heller & Hermine Riegerl Heller.

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