"Sanction of the Museum"


Daniel Buren ( French, 1938 )

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General Description

Daniel Buren began using stripes in the mid-1960s as a way of voiding his work of all representational or expres­sive references. The stripes, each painted to be exactly 8.7 centimeters wide, were created to mimic the stripes on commer­cial awnings. Initially painting them, he eventually began purchasing readymade striped fabrics in order to further eliminate his artistic hand and achieve “degree-zero”—paintings fully void of any illusion or intrinsic value. Buren recognized that if a painting itself has no intrinsic value, then its value and meaning as an object are derived entirely by its location and context. Thus placing his striped works in a gallery or museum served to reveal the structures of art, pointing to the institutional function of the exhibition space in dictating what constitutes a work of art.

Excerpt from

  • Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018, 206.

Web Resources

  • Guggenheim
    Learn about Buren's site-specific method of working through discussion questions and extended information.

  • Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg
    Explore Buren's site-specific critique of and intervention in the Musée d'Art Moderne's architecture.