[The Seven by Nine Squares home page] [YAWN 5] [Art Strike 1990-1993]


"for the true and living equality we will give up everything. Let the arts perish, if need be! But let us have real equality."
Sylvain Marechal, "Manifeste des Égaux," published by the Tribun du Peuple, 1796, France

When the PRAXIS group declared their intention to organize an Art Strike for the three-year period 1990-1993, they fully intended that this proposed (in)action would create at least as many problems as it resolved.

The importance of the Art Strike lies not in its feasibility but in the possibilities it opens up for intensifying the war between the classes. The Art Strike addresses a series of issues: most important among these is the fact that the socially imposed hierarchy of the arts can be actively and aggressively challenged. Simply making this challenge goes a considerable way towards dismantling the mental set behind art and undermining is position of hegemony within contemporary culture, since the success of art as a supposedly "superior form of knowledge" largely depends upon its status remaining unquestioned.

Other issues with which the Art Strike is concerned include that series of "problems" centered on the question of "identity". By focusing attention on the identity of the artist, and the social and administrative practices an individual must pass through before such an identity becomes generally recognized, the organizers of the Art Strike intend to demonstrate that within this society there is a general drift away from the pleasure of play and stimulation; a drift which leads, via codification, on into the prison of the "real".

From SMILE 11, Glasgow 1989