« Hirschhorn gives a simple rationale for his museum’s rigorous schedule: he wants his work to “produce” something daily. “It’s not passive – a patrimoine : the works are here to develop an activity.” The concept of the patrimoine – an aggregate of physical and nonphysical “goods” inherited by and belonging to a person or a group, but most significantly allied with the state – is put very precisely into question by the Musée Precaire: The inhabitants of Landy are invited not to merely repossess art, to see it in their own neighborhood; to gain, however temporarily, a legacy usually denied them. Rather, they are invited to run and man the institution in which this art can be seen. It is they who built the Musée Précaire; who were trained in advance at the Centre Pompidou in art’s security, handling and media exposure; who took over the buvette in order to make a little money from concessions. It is they who constructed and dismantled the museum, manned and guarded it, and shared, however hesitantly, responsibility for its “success,” as was abundantly clear from their attitudes towards outside visitors. Thus one can imagine their looking at the works of art on display to be infused with an activated sense of collective participation. The labor they give to the Musée, paid and unpaid, and whatever they gain from it – even in simply sitting around its open-air buvette – enlarges the definition of their audience-hood, defines it as a solidly “participatory” kind of art-spectatorship, different from the placid acceptance of a patrimoine that is the usual mode of institutional spectatorship. »

Extract of the text « Les Utopies précaires de Thomas Hirschhorn », by Rachel Haidu in Le Journal des Laboratoires, #3, December 2004.