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.