Institutional critique involves the practice of critiquing an institution as a form of artistic expression.
Institutional critique often takes the form of temporary or non-transferable artistic approaches. These can include alterations to painting and sculpture, architectural interventions, performative gestures, and the use of language to disrupt the normal, transparent operations of galleries and museums, as well as the professionals who manage them.
Institutional critique prompts viewers to contemplate the funding of art and the hidden systems of preference and bias that influence the selection of works displayed. Rooted in the realm of Conceptual art, artists involved in Institutional Critique encourage their audience to envision alternative institutions and curatorial systems.
Examples of institutional critique include Niele Toroni making imprints with a No. 50 brush at 30 cm intervals directly onto gallery walls instead of applying the same mark to paper or canvas, and Chris Burden's ‘Exposing the Foundation of the Museum’ (1986), where he excavated a gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, to reveal the concrete foundation of the building.