Finch Takes a Stand

Charlie Finch is joining in on our discussion about the art world business model. Over at Artnet Charlie lets it rip about the art collective as an antidote to the ridiculous business structures and fear mongering that takes place in the corporate art world.

…we in the art world have become so brainwashed by the market model of contemporary art that we forget that the entire history of 20th-century art was a collective phenomenon. Or perhaps you have never heard of the Fauves, the Futurists, the Blaue Reiter, the Dadaists, the Cubists, the Surrealists, the Ten, the Gutai Art Association, CoBRA, the Oz Collective, the Guerrilla Girls, Colab or the Royal Art Lodge?

In our discussion of Style VS Brand Hans Heiner Buhr layed out a similar idea about an online collective through his Art Club Caucasus. As Hans explains:

…the power is the network of ideas, concepts, styles which is only in state for a couple of years now. So it’s a very early stadium. I remember the feel of joy, when I got connected to the Internet in 2000 here from the Georgian Hinterland (I was connected in Berlin in 1994). I got able to publish my works to the world, to the few, for whom it is of interest, the dictatorship of Media, Galleries, Curators, Museums, bad time ~ bad~ place~ handicaps were destroyed.

Carla Knopp also discusses the needs of an artist to market, to be seen, especially in the age of quick clicks and jpegs. In her reasoned comment to Hans’ post she finds that the collective is more a launching pad for ideas. It provides not only community, but a chance to further one’s own creative impulses with the one caveat that systems create rules that can come to limit an artists needs:

A collective provides the power of ready-identity, and also the creative potential of working within a framework, and working from others. This can stimulate one’s ideas, but it does so at the risk of creating myopia. However free-flowing and inventive are a collective’s individuals, the very nature of a collective framework is to distinguish one grouping of ideas. This creates an artificially focused set of values, and non-collective created work may fall into a blind spot.

Charlie is absolutely correct in detailing that the power for change lies within the artists’ community. How we shape things, how we use our creativity will determine what the shape of the art world will look like. WE ARTISTS CAN NOT AFFORD TO BE LAZY ANY LONGER. That is part of the reason for our current discussion about Style VS Brand. We wanted to take a clear look at what artists have to say about the market and how it effects their work. We also wanted to posit other ideas about what is possible for us, how things might be changed and how we might proceed. Keep up the fantastic work Charlie, and we invite you to expand on your thoughts and take part in the discussion here on Henri! Stay tuned for more Style VS Brand.

2 thoughts on “Finch Takes a Stand

  1. One of my favorite movements was the creation of the “ROSTA – Window” group by the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, where Art combined strong graphics and words to attack society and world politics and became a strong tool for early Soviet propaganda (as it was intended by those group).

    I found few information in English, like here:


    and here

    and some more prints here:

    and there is a brilliant book in German, published in former East Germany by Wiktor Duwakin, you can find at the second hand book store

  2. What is a problem with groups and collectives today is, that it is so hard to create them, because of

    1. The team
    2. The goals
    3. The output

    A perfect group is like a Rock group like f.e.Rammstein, where each member has his own tasks but still the freedom and responsibility to interact in the process of creation. It’s similar with a group of architects or lets say a work group of Google employers. But where we have task oriented groups like this in the art world ? These teams are also locally close together, see each other, discuss in the beer bar. In the Art World are successful teams mostly consisting as couples (Fischli+Weiss, Gilbert&George and others) or much looser connected under a hood of a website, like, but can this count still as a collective, because where are common goals ?

    It’s extremely difficult to initiate a productive discussion first, and then maybe certain common artistic goals. In creating discussion some blogs are quite successful, like Edward Winkleman, Franklin Einspruch and this blog. But it’s still far from bind all this highly individual working artists together. What kind of goals can a possible collective have these days at all ? What is the impact, that maybe most members of a newly created world wide art collective never meet each other personally ?

    What is a possible output ? A film, a program, a show, a book, a manifesto, a scandal, an action ? If you run yourself a successful collective, please post some experiences ! Where are the successful examples of the NEW ART COLLECTIVES, I am sure they are !

    PS On behalf of the ROSTA window group around Mayakovsky I found a great resource as PDF, here: (Sadly every piece sold !)

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