[The Seven by Nine Squares home page] [YAWN 17] [Art Strike 1990-1993]


"Every desire must be confronted with this question: what will happen to me, if the object of my desire is accomplished and what if it is not?"
Epicurus, Fragment LXX

  1. How can one participate in the Art Strike (1990-1993)?
    Sure, such a distressing perspective is disorienting to some. As for the art strikers, their tactics vary.

    Stewart Home in London (who thought up the Art Strike), seems to have chosen a total strike of creativity, which includes all activity related to the Art Strike (1990-1993). He is limiting his activity to dispatching only documents concerning the Art Strike that were produced before January 1, 1990, to whomever asks for them. He explains (in a letter dated November 8, 1989):

    "...Setting up an ASAC simply means providing the public with an address from which they can get information about the Art Strike and organising any other activities which you think might help spread the idea...."

    In Iowa, Lloyd Dunn has interrupted the publication of his magazine PhotoStatic for three years. Instead, he publishes the sporadic and quasi-anonymous newsletter YAWN, almost totally dedicated to the Art Strike (1990-1993). I have found certain of the proposals advanced therein to be excessive, such as its characterization of "The Artist as a Victim of Tourette Syndrome," which suggests that the artist is pathologically dependent on their need to create, like a nervous tic (#7, 12/31/89). On the other hand, I notice this declaration: "There is no Art Strike dogma as such. Instead, it is essential that each Art strike participant construct their own set of activities in support of the Art Strike." (#6, 11/24/89)

  2. It consists of a paradox.
    Sure, the proposition of an Art Strike (1990-1993) is paradoxical, incredible, illogical, bizarre, incoherent, extremist, masochistic, unrealistic, and pretentious, but it is a social action that has as its primary goal the deliberate provocation of annoyance.
  3. Isn't this pious Art Strike (1990-1993) doomed to failure by lack of impact?

    Sure, this is a possibility.

    In YAWN it says, "the Art Strike (1990-1993) can only affect those people who choose to be affected by it...." (#11, 3/1/90). But in Cicero it says:

    "...Even if the goodness [that we seek] were not recognized, it would still be good; for whatever we can say in all truth is commended by its own good nature, even if not approved by any man living." [On Moral Obligation, I.4.14]
  4. Art is already a strike.
    Sure, there is something to this. On this subject, Lloyd Dunn proposed in the 40th and last issue of PhotoStatic (December, 1989):

    "...the Art Strike is not so much a call for doing nothing as it is a call for doing something else. Now, it is quite plausible, according to my interpretation of the intent of the Art Strike, for a person (whether they think they are doing "art" or not) to participate in the Art Strike and yet continue to do what they were doing before! As far as I can tell, the Art Strike lashes out at a set of attitudes about art; not "art" as such. To clarify my position on this, it is perhaps necessary for us to have two definitions for the word "art".
    1. art: virtually any creative activity, definable by the user of the term themself; and
    2. Art: a class and gender-specific activity devoted to the creation of marketable objects....
    The Art Strike simultaneously calls for a rejection of Art, and a re-evaluation of art. To be effective, the Art Strike must demoralize Artists, and encourage artists."

[Lettre Documentaire no.9, 4/25/90