Best Place to Figure Some Shit Out - 2011
Institute of Cultural Inquiry
An independent research and exhibition center with its own small but salient publishing arm, the Institute of Cultural Inquiry lives up to the lofty and slightly Poindexter promise of its name, using a variety of approaches to articulating how technology is affecting our collective experience of artistic, social and political culture. At times the ICI's projects are traditionally formatted gallery installations at its Mid-City location, and these often involve workshops and other public-engagement aspects. Certain projects exist entirely online. In principle, ICI is open to suggestions from artists and arts groups wishing to present their own ideas. Since opening its practice in 1990, ICI has cultivated an open-minded and offbeat program that doesn't just use the spaces it occupies to explore cultural paradigms in themselves, but to more deeply examine the very mechanisms, aesthetic and documentation strategies, and premises that shape those explorations themselves. All of this far-ranging activity takes place during gallery hours most of the time, but as ICI frequently conducts field research and/or checks in with its European outposts, you'll want to call to, um, inquire. 1512 S. Robertson Blvd., Mid-City. (310) 273-7181; culturalinquiry.org.
—Shana Nys Dambrot