An Installation by Dexter Sinister


Sic! Elephanthouse, Neustadtstrasse 14


Sat 9.10.21 / 4.30pm with Stuart Bailey (Dexter Sinister)

Opening hours

noon – 6pm

The audiovisual installation Identity by Dexter Sinister examines how the corporate identities of London’s Tate, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris have changed. It explores the branding and positioning of art institutions as they become increasingly aware of their own image.

How do changes in the graphic identities of art institutions reflect the shifting landscape of institutional policy and strategy? How does the conception of “identity” – through an organisation’s use of graphic design, its marketing and branding – function to mediate between audience, artwork and institution? 

The period since the 1960s has seen significant shifts in the perceived role of contemporary art in society, as well as the impact organisations displaying art have on economic and political infrastructures (and vice versa). The installation Identity attempts to animate the typically fraught relationship between cultural and corporate spheres, as contemporary art institutions become increasingly preoccupied with their own image.

The danger is that it's just talk. Then again, the danger is that it's not. I believe you can speak things into existence. Jay-Z, Decoded, 2010

Initiated by Stefan Kalmár and Richard Birkett of Artists Space based in New York, the work Identity was developed over a two-year period by Dexter Sinister – the working name of designers, publishers and writers Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt – with research assistance from Robert Snowden. The work centers on a three-part projection that functions as part informational film, part minimalist cartoon. This audiovisual essay uses three case studies – London’s Tate, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris – as coordinates from which to plot a broader landscape. Looking at the evolution of their brands over the last fifty years, the film projects how art organisations negotiate their positions on a spectrum of ideology and economy.

Design and concept

Dexter Sinister (Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt)


Lea Häfliger (Lucerne), Anna Kapi (Hungary) and Jan Sandberg (Finland)