Team Spirit

  • Equipo Cronica, La Vista, 1969. Collection of Lucio Munoz.

  • General Idea, AIDS, 1989-90. Courtesy of the artists and Koury Wingate, New York.

  • Pruitt ⋅ Early, Jack's Brain, Rob's Brain, 1990. Private Collection.

  • Doug and Mike Starn, Large Horses #3, 1985. Private Collection.

  • TODT, Mortar-Cycle, 1985-87. Courtesy of Kent Fine Art, New York.

  • Wallace & Donahue, The Frigidaire Painting (Like a Pariah), 1988. Courtesy of Postmasters Gallery & John Weber Gallery.

  • Seymour Likely, The Unexpected Return of Blinky Palermo from the Tropics, 1989. Courtesy of the Seymour Likely Foundation.

Curated by Nina Castelli Sundell, Susan Sollins

Since the mid-to-late 1960s, collaboration as a mode of production and self-definition has become increasingly visible in the international art world. Most forms of art – theater, film, dance, architecture, and music – are inherently collaborative. With rare exceptions, all involve the participation of more than one individual. The concept of the isolated genius emerged in the Renaissance along with capitalism and, while most writing or musical composition seems indeed to be a solitary endeavor, every mode or style of visual art can be made collaboratively.


Though we can view the history of modern art in terms of the progression of small groups experimenting with new theories of art, the works of art themselves tend to be viewed as authored by a single artist. Individual artists, such as Picasso, Dali, and Duchamp have risen to the point that their names are ubiquitous while their respective groups remain in the esoteric depths of Art History. Now, even excluding groups of individual artists who assume a temporary collective identity for specific projects, such as Colab, the feminist Guerrilla Girls, or the AIDS activists Gran Fury, and those who work primarily in inherently collaborative media such as performance or video, the number of partnerships and artist-teams is now far too great to include all of them in a single comprehensive exhibition.


Team Spirit focuses on collaborations that are sustained by the existence of a collective persona that has been operative over a prolonged period of time, in which the individuals as pairs or groups have had no substantial career outside the collective context. Working in an art world accustomed to value art as the expression of a single, powerful, and original ego, the collective entities represented in this exhibition operate as meta-artists. They practice a kind of cooperative individualism; their works possess the qualities of originality and particularity of style that characterize the twentieth-century artist.


- Excerpt from catalogue essay by Susan Sollins and Nina Castelli Sundell


Accompanying this exhibition is the catalogue “Team Spirit,” including essays by James Hillman, Irit Rogoff, Susan Sollins, and Nina Castelli Sundell. Please click here or visit our shop for more information.




Nina Castelli Sundell

Nina Castelli Sundell was co-founder of ICI with Susan Sollins. She was the curator of many ICI exhibitions, including American Pop Art (1976), The Sense of Self (1978–80), and the ICI Traveling Video Festival (1981–84). An art world pioneer, she defined – together with Susan Sollins – the vision behind ICI, one of the first organizations in the world to be dedicated to the work of curators. In 1981, Nina and Susan curated the exhibition Team Spirit, which reflected on their own history of working together to focus on “the growing phenomenon of collaborative art.” She also co-founded with Marjorie Tallalay The New Gallery in 1968 – later renamed the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art. She was Director of the Lehman College Gallery in New York from 1984–90.

Susan Sollins

Susan Sollins was co-founder, with Nina Castelli Sundell, of ICI, and its Executive Director from the organization’s inception in 1975, until 1996. In 1997, Susan founded Art21, an organization dedicated to introducing contemporary art to millions of people through television and digital media – in many ways a continuation of her goals in setting up ICI. The documentaries created by Art21 were a new form of dynamic portraits capturing the Lives of the Artists of today, which made Susan, in the words of ICI Board Chair Patterson Sims, “the Vasari of our own times.”

Susan was a member of the senior curatorial team at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum early in her career, and was visual-arts consultant for Thirteen/WNET’s TV program City Arts. Among the exhibitions she curated with ICI are Art in Landscape (1976–77), New Sculpture: Icon and Environment (1983–84), Points of View: Four Painters (1985–86), Eternal Metaphors: New Art from Italy (1989–92). She also co-curated many ICI exhibitions, including Supershow! (1979–80), After Matisse (1986–88), and Team Spirit (1990–92), co-curated with Nina Castelli Sundell. She contributed to ICI’s Project 35 (2010-12). She received a Peabody Award for “Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century” (2007), and great critical acclaim for her feature-length film on William Kentridge, broadcast on PBS (2010). She served on the boards of the MacDowell Colony and ICI. In 2008, she also received the Skowhegan Governors Award for Outstanding Service to Artists (2008).


touring schedule

Salina Art Center
Salina, KA, United States
August 29, 1992 - October 24, 1992

Laumeier Sculpture Park and Garden
St. Louis, MO, United States
August 29, 1992 - October 24, 1992

Davenport Art Museum
Davenport, IA, United States
June 7, 1992 - July 26, 1992

Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
March 16, 1992 - May 5, 1992

Spirit Square Center for the Arts
Charlotte, NC, United States
March 6, 1992 - May 3, 1992

Scottsdale Center for the Arts
Scottsdale, AZ, United States
December 22, 1991 - February 16, 1992

The Art Museum at Florida International University
Miami, FL, United States
September 13, 1991 - October 11, 1991

Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
May 25, 1991 - July 28, 1991

Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art
Cleveland, OH, United States
February 1, 1991 - March 29, 1991

Neuberger Museum, State University of New York, Purchase
Purchase, NY, New York
October 14, 1990 - January 6, 1991

NEW YORK, NY 10013
T: +1 212 254 8200 F: +1 212 477 4781
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)