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Collectivism after Modernism: The Art of Social Imagination after 1945

Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Collectivism after Modernism
    Book Description:

    Organized around case studies spanning the globe from Europe, Japan, and the United States to Africa, Cuba, and Mexico, Collectivism after Modernism covers such renowned collectives as the Guerrilla Girls and the Yes Men, as well as lesser-known groups. Contributors: Irina Aristarkhova, Jesse Drew, Okwui Enwezor, Rubén Gallo, Chris Gilbert, Brian Holmes, Alan Moore, Jelena Stojanovi´c; Reiko Tomii, Rachel Weiss. _x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9665-9
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  5. Introduction: Periodizing Collectivism
    (pp. 1-15)

    There is a specter haunting capitalism’s globalization, the specter of a new collectivism. We experience this specter daily now in two complementary forms, each with less or more force than the other depending on where we are in the world. Both of these forms have deep roots and complex genealogical structures and each returns to us now mostly as a ghost but as a ghost with a hardened, cutting edge running the length of its misshapen and ethereal outline, a ghost whose concrete effects and ungraspable vitality seem evermore to determine our present. This edge is fully within the crisis...

  6. 1. Internationaleries: Collectivism, the Grotesque, and Cold War Functionalism
    (pp. 17-43)

    This essay examines specic ways some of the main modernist discursive tenets such as collectivism and internationalism have been rearticulated in avant-garde art practice during the cold war ideological warfare. It is important to note that this ideology became dominant in Europe with the implementation of the Marshall Plan in 1948. This was also the moment when globalization began to take root and when the term “international” began to figure prominently in the names of art collectives. By focusing on the theory and practice of four early cold war collectives this chapter will investigate the changing nature of collective art...

  7. 2. After the “Descent to the Everyday”: Japanese Collectivism from Hi Red Center to The Play, 1964–1973
    (pp. 45-75)

    Where do we begin a study of “collectivism after modernism” in Japan? One possible—and obvious—place is Gutai, arguably the best-known Japanese avant-garde collective in post-1945 world art. Granted, no study of postwar collectivism will be complete without Gutai—or Gutai Art Association (Gutai Bijutsu Kyōkai) in its full name—which was founded in Ashiya, a town west of Osaka, in 1954. However, Gutai is a collective unlike any other: it was ultimately an enterprise of its charismatic leader Yoshihara Jirō, the esteemed abstract painter and a senior member of the art world, who would be called “Mr. Gutai.”¹...

  8. 3. Art & Language and the Institutional Form in Anglo-American Collectivism
    (pp. 77-93)

    The date 1945, somewhat arbitrarily, may serve to mark a quantum heightening in the organization of civilian societies of the United States and Great Britain. These societies, once mobilized for armed conflict (by means of rationing, extension of government, spontaneous conformity), were never subsequently fully “demobbed” in the peace that followed. Hence begins a postwar condition in which participation in what Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer termed the “totally administered world,” and so taking part in a kind of mass collectivity, was a pervasive and ongoing condition, while the question ofhowcollective matriculation takes place supercedes the earlier question...

  9. 4. The Collective Camcorder in Art and Activism
    (pp. 95-113)

    As myth has it, in the midst of the caveman choreography of the Chicago Police Department at the 1968 Democratic convention, the chant arose “the whole world’s watching.”¹ This vocal response to the frenzied beating of demonstrators has been described as a manifestation of the collective realization of the centrality of television, and of the prophesied global electronic village. The year 1968 was also when Sony Corporation’s consumer-level video camera, the self-contained, battery-powered, quarterinch, reel-to-reel Portapak, became widely available.² The camera was affordably priced and did not require the technical proficiency normally required for television production. The concurrence of these...

  10. 5. Performing Revolution: Arte Calle, Grupo Provisional, and the Response to the Cuban National Crisis, 1986–1989
    (pp. 115-163)

    Collectivism as an artistic practice has had an episodic presence in Cuba throughout the twentieth century and especially since the Revolution of 1959. Within the time frame of the “new Cuban art,”¹ collective formations have appeared notably in three approximate moments: during the first half of the 1980s, in the latter half of that decade, and around the turn of the millennium (although this third “moment” had its genesis as early as 1990). These moments have tracked to the dynamics of this exceptionally volatile period, squaring with, first, a moment ofaperturafacilitated by relative economic stability and the recent...

  11. 6. The Mexican Pentagon: Adventures in Collectivism during the 1970s
    (pp. 165-191)

    Collectivism, in its various guises, shaped crucial aspects of twentieth-century Mexican culture and politics. The 1917 constitution, drafted in the final stages of the Mexican revolution, contained several articles promoting the collective organization of agriculture, business, and the economy; the most famous was article 27 instituting theejido,or communally owned farmland, as the guiding principle of land redistribution. This article was meant to replace the greedy individualism that had become a trademark of the old regime—the presidency of Porfirio Díaz, who ruled Mexico from 1876 until the revolution exploded in 1910—with a socialist legal framework emphasizing the...

  12. 7. Artists’ Collectives: Focus on New York, 1975–2000
    (pp. 193-221)

    The question of collectivism in recent art is a broad one. Artists’ groups are an intimate part of postmodern artistic production in the visual arts, and their presence informs a wide spectrum of issues including modes of artistic practice, the exhibition and sales system, publicity and criticism, even the styles and subjects of art making. Groups of all kinds, collectives, collaborations, and organizations cut across the landscape of the art world. These groups are largely autonomous organizations of artistic labor that, along with the markets and institutions of capital expressed through galleries and museums, comprise and direct art. The presence...

  13. 8. The Production of Social Space as Artwork: Protocols of Community in the Work of Le Groupe Amos and Huit Facettes
    (pp. 223-251)

    Recent confrontations within the field of contemporary art have precipitated an awareness that there have emerged in increasing numbers, within the last decade, new critical, artistic formations that foreground and privilege the mode of collective and collaborative production. The position of the artist working within collective and collaborative processes subtends earlier manifestations of this type of activity throughout the twentieth century. They also question the enduring legacy of the artist as an autonomous individual within modernist art. In this essay, I address the question of collectivization of artistic production first in terms of its immanence within the critical vicissitudes of...

  14. 9. Beyond Representation and Affiliation: Collective Action in Post-Soviet Russia
    (pp. 253-271)

    When “a thinking political subject” looks around today, twenty years after the official end of the cold war and a few years since the beginning of the war on terrorism, two basic questions once resorted to by the Russian intelligentsia come to mind: “Who is to be blamed?” and “What is to be done?” But these questions sound rather old-fashioned to our ear now and, really, they are from the nineteenth century. Consistent with the mood of today they may more accurately be reframed as “Who cares?” It seems as if now we have never been further away from the...

  15. 10. Do-It-Yourself Geopolitics: Cartographies of Art in the World
    (pp. 273-294)

    Vanguard art, in the twentieth century, began with the problem of its own overcoming—whether in the destructive, Dadaist mode, which sought to tear apart the entire repertory of inherited forms and dissolve the very structures of the bourgeois ego, or in the expansive, constructivist mode, which sought to infuse architecture, design, and the nascent mass media with a new dynamics of social purpose and a multiperspectival intelligence of political dialogue. Though both positions were committed to an irrepressible excess over the traditional genres of painting and sculpture, still they appeared as polar opposites; and they continued at ideological odds...

  16. Contributors
    (pp. 295-298)
  17. Index
    (pp. 299-312)