Artforum has invited some of our leading theorists, curators, artists, and museum directors to consider how art institutions might evolve

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Hank Willis Thomas, Remember Me, 2014, neon, 23 5⁄8 × 59 1⁄8

THE CALL IS CLEAR: Museums must change. Amid an ongoing global pandemic and growing demands for decolonization, racial justice, and economic parity, culture needs new tools for structural transformation. In the first of two special issues focusing on this urgent topic, Artforum has invited some of our leading theorists, curators, artists, and museum directors to consider how art institutions might evolve. Contributing editor THOMAS CROW envisions a more “modest” museum, while art historian ALEX KITNICK looks to the legacy of avant-garde exhibition spaces. Writer and critic JESSICA LYNNE surveys the critical impact historically Black colleges and universities have had on Black cultural preservation and production. Four case studies highlight different ways institutions have wrestled with the imperatives of the moment: Kunstinstituut Melly director SOFÍA HERNÁNDEZ CHONG CUY speaks about the Rotterdam institution’s recent renaming; contributing editor HUEY COPELAND talks with curator ALLISON GLENN about the network of curatorial care underpinning a show honoring Breonna Taylor at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky; curator and critic JEFFREY WEISS investigates the “discrete upheaval” in the temporary reinstallation of the Frick Collection in the former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and a conversation between scholar HANAN TOUKAN and Palestinian Museum director ADILA LAÏDI-HANIEH illuminates how one nascent cultural institution has responded to the brutal pressures of colonialist violence. Finally, in “Notes on Nonprofit,” contributing editor TIM GRIFFIN and artists RALPH LEMON and SARAH MICHELSON reflect on the status of the alternative space as a site for experimentation not simply in art but in political organization.

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