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Charles Harrison said, “There are reasons for caution when some work seems caught too readily in the available critical discourse”*. This statement alone, suffices to make Harrison an honorary member of the Institute for the Separation of Theory from Practice. What follows is an explanation of the ISTP first published in Wegway Primary Culture, issue 2, 1999:

I do not want to be a conceptual painter and that is why I established the Institute for the Separation of Theory from Practice (ISTP) in 1999. There was some haste in the arrangements so that it could participate in the Twentieth Century. The Institute is dedicated to uncovering works of art festooned with extrinsic theoretical ideas. This process is really quite simple: When I look at a work of visual art, I examine my mental activity and note whether I am simply taking it in and thinking about it as it is (or more specifically, does it seem to concern a way to be visually interesting?) or whether on the other hand, I am reading the work of art into a context which I have brought to the experience (in other words, am I prompted to deduce an idea that is more easily articulated than visual interest?). It is usually the case that both elements are present to a certain degree, as many artists are well read, sophisticated thinkers, but it is important for me to note which aspect I notice first, and which the work of art seems to be steering me towards. If it is the latter (the contextualizing and easily written about), then I am confronted with a work that does not meet ISTP standards. I have to carefully examine my own work, as well as my colleagues’ here at the Institute, to ensure it meets the standards. I examine other people’s works for fun and advice.

*Charles Harrison, “On Pictures and Paintings” in Essays on Art & Language, Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1991, p. 231.

ISTP Cyclops Octopus

The Cyclops Octopus – Symbol of Intensity

The Institute’s Creed

Art is carried in a net of tropes and appearances. This will not worry me. I will not try to fix it with irrelevant doodads.

ISTP pail

The Pail – Symbol of Erudition

The Institute’s Motto

The Institute is about make-believe: thinking like a child with the sophisticated ideas of an adult.

steam generator #6###

The Steam Generator – Symbol of Determination

The Institute’s Mission

Discourage pandering.

Unanimously approved by the ISTP Executive Council of Twelve:

Lenny Ankersfeldt,Stephen Eric Armstrong, Karen Eliot, Emily Frazang, Wm. F. Krendall, Harriet Lemonjello, Marjory Merz, Pete Nietzsche, Larch Punin, André Questcequecest, Nora Tenzi, and Celestine Vanestric