Slavs and Tatars
The Collective Eye: Thoughts on Collective Practice
Distanz Verlag Gmbh Llc
Ingenious in the Mass
The artists' colonies of the nineteenth century championed the idea of a social and economic community of “city refugees” who lived and worked together, finding inspiration in nature; the artists' groups of the early twentieth century, on the other hand, rallied around artistic programs with which their members are now associated in histories of art. And yet the—male, white—artist was continually vaunted as a brilliant solitary creator. Until a few years ago, a consensus to which both the art market and artists readily acceded reproduced this phenomenon, and so artists' collectives that gained international acclaim, like General Idea, remained the exception. Why is that? Which conditions must be established for this paradigm to be defeated? And why is it that collective thinking and action have long been accepted and even standard practice in other domains, like theater and ballet, fashion, music, and cinema? Today, the effects of digital networking and globalization define the premises and nuances of community formation and collective artistic work. And yet the cult of the genuine artist, creating solely out of himself or herself, remains the status quo. Other disciplines appear to have long overcome this challenge. And the models of what making art looks like vary widely depending on formative social influences and cultural identities. These observations formed the basis for conversations that led The Collective Eye to complement its work organizing exhibitions and symposia with the production of a book series gathering Thoughts on Collective Practice. The first three volumes discuss practices of collective action with the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset; the collective Slavs and Tatars, which started out as a reading group; and the stage director Roberto Ciulli. The series seeks to chart an approach to a complex of issues that scholars have only just begun to study.