We Need New Institutions, Not New Art

Illustration by Sawsan Chalabi for the Ford Foundation. Courtesy Ford Foundation.

Hyperallergic has partnered with the Ford Foundation to publish an ongoing series of essays called “Creative Futures”. In this piece, artist, writer, and professor Coco Fusco, makes the case for the necessary restructuring of art institutions-- arguing that marginalized artists who create more art about the struggles of their various communities, is not the solution. Real change, Fusco suggests, rests beyond empty platitudes of solidarity, and support for movements for social change. Real change requires that art institutions themselves be reworked from the core.

“Equity won’t be achieved by a new biennial, another emerging artist of color survey, or a record auction sale by a Black artist. And while justice and equity may be goals for a democratic political culture, they have never been the principles that drive the most powerful patrons and artists of the art world. We’d do well to consider who actually views the arts as an arena in which social justice should prevail. We can’t assume that it’s a shared value.” - Coco Fusco