“We made a promise not to don the trusted old blazer we had depended on more or less blindly before, to avoid jaded language, knee-jerk opening times, obvious show durations, the same old lighting.” – Maxine Kopsa, Kunstverein
“The human, and human relations, are the bedrock of what we do and how we keep going every day. We try to never forget this and, as much as possible, we build structures that support those relationships in a respectful, empathetic, and hospitable way.” – RAW Material Company Team
The publication Bande à part discusses the reasons, means, and rationales of a range of recent independent institutions, which often have a small economy yet create a considerable impact within their respective art scenes. It takes a close look at how small- to mid-scale institutional models depart, each in a different way, from the traditional formats of the white cube. Structured around a questionnaire of thirteen questions posed to 15 different self-organized art institutions including Asakusa, Kunstverein, Louise Dany, Pivô, RAW Material Company, and The Artist’s Institute, the book brings together a toolbox of examples giving insights into the murky and meticulous work of constructing an institutional platform—the “hows”, “whats”, and “whys”—spoken of by someone on the inside, in the engine room. The focus thus revolves around the operation of alternative mechanisms, instigating unconventional hierarchies and interdependencies between artwork, artist, audience, institution—between participants and authors, agents and aliens. The institutional contributions are bracketed by an introductory roundtable by Rhea Dall, Prem Krishnamurthy, and Chris Sharp, an essay reflecting on the necessity and irreverence of Ashkal Alwan by Christine Tohme, and a conversation between Dall and Chris Kraus on collective practices.