chapter  8
8 Pages

From the Inside Looking Out

The Possibility of a Critical Establishment
ByPenelope Curtis

The critical museum creates or provides a tipping point, allowing that which was previously unknown, imperfectly understood or marginalised to be re-considered. This preserves for the museum its part in defining the canon, through the exercise of careful judgment, but also demands that it reconsider and re-create that canon, and provide the parameters or conditions with which to make this possible. We have become rather used to the notion of the museum 'intervention', in which a largely willing establishment invites the artist to intervene. The word intervention implies something approaching a risk on the part of the museum, but in fact artists generally love museums more even than curators, and it is the rare artist who really takes the logic of the 'intervention' to its full extent. Most museums have a rather rigid structure of exhibition 'implementation', and it takes a very determined curator to find ways round this.