The university art museum and institutional critique: A platform for contemporary practices

Natasha S. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


University art museums are in a unique position to push against traditional museum practices. In this article, some of the characteristics of university art museums that render them ideal locations for exploring contemporary approaches to museum and university teaching and learning-particularly their proclivity to academic freedom, multidisciplinary approaches, active engagement, and social encounters-are examined. These characteristics can also be considered important elements of contemporary museum education practices and higher education approaches. Furthermore, these qualities often appear in the work of artists who engage with institutional critique. Each of these characteristics is examined in relation to university teaching and university museums. The work of artists who have employed elements of institutional critique in their work in museums located on university and college campuses is also investigated. Additionally, the article introduces an artwork that falls within the realm of institutional critique, which was created by the author for a faculty art exhibition at a university art museum. The work is analyzed in relation to these four characteristics. Finally, the author examines how this artwork and these characteristics of university museums have influenced her university teaching practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of the Inclusive Museum
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic freedom
  • Active engagement and social encounters
  • Contemporary art
  • Institutional critique
  • Multidisciplinary approaches
  • Museum education
  • University art museums
  • University teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Museology


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