Collaborative and collective art practices have proliferated around the world over the past fifteen years. In The One and the Many, Grant H. Kester provides an overview of the broader continuum of collaborative art, ranging from the work of artists and groups widely celebrated in the mainstream art world, such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Superflex, Francis Alys, and Santiago Sierra, to the less-publicized projects of groups, such as Park Fiction in Hamburg, Networking and Initiatives for Culture and the Arts in Myanmar, Ala Plastica in Argentina, Huit Facettes in Senegal, and Dialogue in central India. The work of these groups often overlaps with the activities of NGOs, activists, and urban planners. Kester argues that these parallels are symptomatic of an important transition in contemporary art practice, as conventional notions of aesthetic autonomy are being redefined and renegotiated. He describes a shift from a concept of art as something envisioned beforehand by the artist and placed before the viewer, to the concept of art as a process of reciprocal creative labor. The One and the Many presents a critical framework that addresses the new forms of agency and identity mobilized by the process of collaborative production.
Grant H. Kester is Professor of Art History and Chair of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art and the editor of Art, Activism, and Oppositionality: Essays from Afterimage, also published by Duke University Press.
Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 1. The Semantics of Collaboration 2. Art Practice and the Intellectual Baroque Chapter 1: Autonomy, Antagonism, and the Aesthetic 19 1. From Text to Action 2. Park Fiction, Ala Plastica, and Dialogue 3. Relational Antagonism 4. The Risk of Diversity 5. Programmatic Multiplicity 6. Art Theory and the Post-structuralist Canon Chapter Two: The Genius of the Place 67 1. Lessons in Futility 2. Enclosure Acts 3. The Twelfth Seat and the Mirrored Ceiling 4. The Atelier as Workshop 5. Labor, Praxis, and Representation 6. The Divided and Incomplete Subject of Yesterday 7. Memories of Development 8. The Limits of Ethical Capitalism 9. The Art of the Locality Chapter Three: Eminent Domain: Art and Urban Space 155 1. Blindness and Insight 2. The Invention of the Public 3. The Boulevards of the Inner City 4. Park Fiction: Desire, Resistance, and Complicity 5. A Culture of Needles: Project Row Houses in Houston Notes 229 References 281 Index 295