An artist collective can be loosely defined as a group of three or more artists who make work together. The emphasis here lies not in the work but in the sense of ‘togetherness’, of articulations formed through friendship. This sense of what is mutual and social can also be more strictly defined as a system of conferring value and resource sharing. In “From the Critique of Institutions to an Institution of Critique” (2005), Andrea Fraser wrote of artists, “We are the institution. It’s a question of what kind of institution we are, what kind of values we institutionalize, what forms of practice we reward, and what kinds of rewards we aspire to.” In continuation of the questions raised in Dismantling the Scaffold, this conversation is centered on issues around collaboration, identity politics, and individual autonomy. What does it mean for a group to articulate itself with one voice?
In 1990, Mel Chin began his ecological work Revival Field which sought to remove heavy metals from the soil using plants. The grant Chin initially received from the National Endowment for the Arts in the US was retracted, with the concern being, “this is not art.” Following this, Asian American art collective Godzilla advocated with Chin in what redefined what could be considered art and defined Godzilla’s voice in the New York art scene. As a form of collective organizing, artist Asian-American artist collectives formed a critical mass in the New York art scene, raising visibility for each other’s work as well as projecting a voice that takes part in writing art history.
This conversation brings together 5 members of New York-based Asian American art collectives Godzilla (1990-2001), Epoxy Art Group (1982-1992), and Tomato Grey (2008-present), as well as Hong Kong-based art collective Visual Arts Society to discuss methods in which artists make work together. Panelists include Bing Lee, Samson Young, Teresa Kwong, Albert Kaho Yu and Frog King Kwok, as moderated by Hera Chan. The conversation will be conducted in Cantonese with English interpretation available. This public programme is part of Dismantling the Scaffold, curated by Christina Li in partnership with Spring Workshop.
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