"A single institution doesn't establish a canon, unless that institution is the papacy. Canons get established—and broken down—by consensus, by people debating what's important. I prefer to think of what we do as making propositions. The fact that, over the course of the twentieth century, many of the propositions we made were adopted as dominant narratives speaks to the way in which we argued for those propositions. It does not mean that the narratives are fixed and will last forever.
"I hope that we've created an institution that's supple. Yes, we want to make an argument .And we want to make it in the affirmative: 'We believe that this is an interesting way to see something.' But we don't want to make arguments like, 'This is the only way to see this,' or, 'These are the only histories that matter.' I don't believe we ever intended to do that, and I certainly don't believe we intend to now."
Glenn Lowry (on MOMA), in On Value by Triple Canopy 2016
few know how to plant a tree indoors with the knowledge it will outgrow the building and have to be moved.
to do so, you must first invent an institution that will last a hundred years.
"If an institution succeeds as a proposition, the public (as opposed to community) it consti- tutes will include those that hold the value of that proposition in common. is commonness of purpose is premised on a dynamic set of relationships rather than a supposedly stable shared identity. For this reason, propositions may generate networks—defined as a constellation of relationships—which need not be geographically restricted to the physical location of the institution."
In 2016, I’m doubling down on exploring how to shift major institutions from the 20th century to the 21st. I work a lot on helping public servants design government to meet user needs, but I’m also fascinated by education. Our current systems of both (and to a certain extent medicine and finance as well) are built around institutional authority and direction. We still need institutions, of course, but as our society grows increasingly complex, diverse, and technological, we need them to use their power differently. We need them to become more flexible, nimble, and responsive to the needs of their clients, and supportive of many kinds of human potential. We have the tools, and visions are relatively easy to come by. But visions are cheap, frankly. Actually doing the work, unlocking the design minds of dedicated people who are experts in those fields—that kind of meta-design problem is my current obsession.