Joshua Schwebel's artistic practice responds to sites and situations, looking at the infrastructures that precondition the exhibition and valorization of art. Schwebel is interested in the art exhibition complex as a productive, material, politically-and financially- situated context rather than an empty container for the display of objects. While the neutrality white cube has been naturalized, this formality conceals already-ongoing institutional performances – performances constitutive of the creation of the "neutral" frame that distinguishes art from non-art. Schwebel's work makes the art institution visible as a complex performing entity.
In examining the framing of art as a construct that both confers and protects value, his work reflects what we expect art to be and how these expectations veil systemic problems plaguing contemporary art including the intensely hierarchized and stratified work culture in art institutions; the instrumentalization of artists and art institutions in the gentrification of neighbourhoods; and the effects of austerity politics on cultural funding, which have effectively entrenched institutional dependence on donors and established the already-wealthy as the arbiters of taste and legitimacy in art.