[The Seven by Nine Squares home page] [YAWN 7] [Art Strike 1990-1993]

Art Strike as Art

It's amusing to think that "art strikers" could so value their work that they imagine its cessation would change the economic topography of our country. If they actually saw Art Strike as a practical solution to the problem of the artist's contribution to the perpetuation of an oppressive system, they would be guilty of the egotism and elitism they deplore. They would be elevated to the status of tragic heroes, like the lost Olympians, who sacrificed personal glory to the dream of a greater good.

The participants have no delusions about their (non-)action and yet, in the imagination the ramifications of Art Strike are exhilarating. If cultural workers suddenly shut up and could no longer view themselves as superior beings, humanity would truly have the chance to create itself new. What would this new humanity rising like Phoenix from the ashes of its own culture be like?

Art Strike is a brilliant gesture.

Art Strike is symbolic, merely provocative. It is meant to provoke conversation among artists like all the other insulated works it rails against. It is a piece of performance art that will break down the boundaries between art and non-art to focus on life.

Since Art Strike is art, during Art Strike, Art Strike itself won't be possible. Conceptual art in the wake of Art Strike would be redundant and superficial. No single work of art could approach the brilliant simplicity/complexity of Art Strike. I imagine artists spilling out of the ship of culture like so many bewildered rats, only to drown.

Since art will be irrelevant after the strike, the strike will have accomplished its mission, even though by definition this is impossible.

Art Strike is the sound of one hand clapping.

Therefore it is the most important work of art of this century-make that this millennium.

[Karen Eliot