chapter  20
16 Notes on Collectivism and Dark Matter
WithGregory Sholette
Pages 5

In pragmatic terms, collectivism provides the unseen but necessary verification that specific artistic acts are more than merely idiosyncratic occurrences. Contemporary artistic collectivism is typically characterized by its aesthetic informality, political anarchism, and its performative approach to the expression of collective identity itself. Within the plastic, visual arts one could say that most of aesthetic production is treated like a hidden archive that is invisible primarily to those who lay claim to the management and interpretation of culture—the critics, art historians, collectors, dealers, museums, curators, and arts administrators. The line demarcating artistic protest and direct forms of activism vanishes. Lacking neither a distinct history, nor an adequate explanatory theory, self-consciously produced collective art bears down on the familiar cannon of proper names, stylistic innovations, and formal typologies that populate the conventional management of the institutional art world.