Past Issue

Issue 1

Winter 2008–09: Contemporary Art Institutions of the Future

December 01, 2008 12:00 AM

Conditions affecting the making and presentation of contemporary art have shifted dramatically in the twenty-one years since The Power Plant opened. The terms for public funding have changed at the same time that the market for contemporary art has mushroomed, as has the number of biennales, art fairs, private foundations, and museums. Over the last eighteen months we have promoted discussion on these changes, their effects on contemporary art at a grassroots level and—importantly—their implications for the future of The Power Plant.
This discussion provides a context for the birth of Switch and thereby the focus of the first issue. Our lead articles feature writers from Europe, Asia and Canada and allude to common ideological factors affecting contemporary art today, as well as local distinctions. Nina Möntmann’s ‘The Rise and Fall of New Institutionalism’ addresses the recent impact of neo-liberalism on Central European contemporary art institutions and discusses counter-projects that develop participatory institution-forming activities. Roger McDonald’s ‘Navigating Our Way Into the World’ looks at the impact of increased privatization and reduced public funding for contemporary art institutions in Japan, and new non-linear, audience-centred approaches to curating, such as the ‘Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial.’ In ‘Wary Partners/Fellow Wayfarers: Artists and Institutions,’ Peggy Gale relates globalization in the art world and the rise of cultural tourism to the parallel world of artist-initiated activity in Canada. In a small way, this grouping of articles foregrounds the potential of contemporary art initiatives within diverse localities, characterized as much by difference as by sameness.


In This Issue


Stop Making Sense: A Conversation with Felix Gmelin

by Helena Reckitt


Artist's Project:

Andrea Bowers


The Rise and Fall of New Institutionalism

by Nina Möntmann


Navigating Our Way Into the World

by Roger McDonald


Wary Partners/Fellow Wayfarers: Artists and Institutions

by Peggy Gale




Simon Starling: The Entangled Life of Things

by Jim Drobnick


In Defense of Biennales


Scott Lyall

by Jennifer Matotek



From the Archive:

From Sea to Shining Sea: From Stream to Golden Stream

by Luis Jacob


We Can Do This Now

Where Are They Now?


Glenn Ligon

by Christy Thompson