Exhibition — 3 Oct 2020 until 3 Jan 2021

The 125th anniversary of the Stedelijk presents an opportunity for the museum to reflect on its role in society. After Institutions is a thematic group exhibition that examines the state of public institutions and their relation to economic conditions and social movements. It focuses on renewing the discourse around and expanding the canon of Institutional Critique.

Originating in the 1960s as an offshoot of Conceptual Art, with subsequent waves in the 1990s and in recent years, Institutional Critique takes the art institution itself as its subject. It questions the alleged neutrality of how artworks are contextualized and presented. Through Institutional Critique, artists have demonstrated that museums are not unbiased environments for showing art, but operate through structures defined by surroundings, text and architecture.

After Institutions brings together artists from the three generations associated with Institutional Critique, each of which corresponds to a particular historic and economic moment, and draws out intergenerational themes and threads.

Supporters of the Guerrilla Girls on the steps of the Stedelijk Museum, 1996. Photo: Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen
Supporters of the Guerrilla Girls on the steps of the Stedelijk Museum, 1996. Photo: Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen

As the function of the institution and its relationship to the state, funding, audience, and most importantly to the artist have drastically evolved in the last 50 years since the advent of Institutional Critique, it is imperative to take a renewed look at the critical and celebratory practices that this movement encompasses. 

In addition to the group exhibition, After Institutions features new and performative works, as well as a publication.