Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nancy Roth, Collaboration and Originality

Most of us live in families, work and play in teams, form clubs and join societies with abandon. We collaborate. Many kinds of artists, too, work in groups as a matter of course, e.g. musicians, actors, dancers, filmmakers, architects. In fact it is almost exclusively in the visual arts that collaboration has recently—since the late 1960s—arisen as an issue. It may seem as though the discussion marks the overdue demise of an obsolete model of creativity that is most deeply entrenched in the visual arts. For although the notion of a self-sufficient genius, creating from his (or her) own inner resources, is by no means exclusive to visual art, the painter-in-the-studio may well remain that model’s most familiar representation. In any case, I very much doubt whether the idea of individual creativity is being replaced by models of collaboration and interactivity any more than, say, print is being replaced by digital electronic communication. Digital technology is affecting everything about print, from who publishes to what and how much is published to how it all looks and who buys it and who reads it. In analogous fashion, collaborative models of creativity, in part because they seem implicit in these same technologies, are reconfiguring visual art. Rather than being replaced, however, the old model remains recognizable, operable as a kind of palimpsest, below the surface of a quite different aesthetic.
In a recent anthology of writing about drawing, John Wood raised a question about whether a drawing could draw itself, whether it would be possible to think of ourselves being sketched by a drawing in an act of self-creation, or autopoesis that no longer recognizes a firm distinction between the drawer, the drawn, and the viewer. Drawing, as arguably the oldest, most immediate and intimate creative activity, is no doubt the best possible place to begin articulating such a framework. But the discussion moves to other media as well—language, for example, and music. It sketches us, the readers, as participants in a universe of constant creation, a dynamic interaction in which the origin of something new can’t be traced to a single person, and perhaps can’t be located in any one time and place at all.
It takes a certain courage to write as Wood does. For despite what has by now become quite a rich history of work—artistic collaborations, theoretical constructs—undertaken with deliberate intent to relocate the origin of innovation somewhere outside a single discreet consciousness, contemporary English resists such concepts. Wood’s essay, unusually, frames the issue closely enough to give a reader the glimpse of how he or she might be ‘redrawn’ in the context of different model of originality. The language seems to favour a neat reversal of the usual syntactic order: “The drawing made him,” instead of “He made the drawing.” But the thought is more accurately presented in more awkward terms, such as “They, he and the drawing, remade themselves,” or if I may paraphrase Wood, “The drawing, which includes him, draws itself.”
I hope I am not distorting Wood’s meaning unduly in reading the essay as a sensitive, close-up meditation on a key moment in Vilém Flusser’s “communicology,” a theory of human communication. The main thing I need to add to what Wood has proposed is that the moment of creation involves not only a human being and material stuff, but also other human beings, not necessarily present at the time. For media, including drawing materials, are storage sites. They are, further, invested with the energies of many. As the eminent art historian Erwin Panofsky once remarked, when you hand a child a rectangular sheet of smooth, white paper on which to draw, you’re handing her 400 years of art history.
Flusser describes communication as a peculiarly human artifice. Only through the generation, storage and distribution of information, he writes, are human beings able to make their lives meaningful and overcome their “natural” condition of loneliness and inevitable death. In order to achieve this goal, a given person needs a fairly even balance between “dialogue” and “discourse.” “Dialogue” here refers to an exchange of stored information that has the potential to create, that is, to generate genuinely new information (the kind of achievement he later refers to as art); “Discourse” refers to the distribution of this information—critical to its preservation. At one time, paintings or sculptures or speeches were the means of discourse. In our own context, it takes television, radio, and print. When there is a radical imbalance between dialogue and discourse, as there is for most of those living in post-industrial societies today, a crisis arises, somewhat ironically, a sense of being unable to communicate. The problem is certainly not that there isn’t enough communication. Of the common contemporary complaint about feeling isolated, Flusser writes:
What people mean is obviously not that they suffer from a lack of communication. Never before in history has communication functioned so well, so intensively and extensively as it does today. What people mean is the difficulty in establishing a genuine dialogue, that is, in exchanging information in the interest of new information. And this difficulty can be traced back to just that communication that functions so perfectly today, namely that superb, omnipresent discourse that renders every dialogue at once impossible and unnecessary…
When discourse prevails, as it does today, human beings feel lonely, even though they are in almost continual contact with so-called “information sources.” If the village dialogue prevails, as it did before the communications revolution, people feel lonely despite dialogue because they feel ‘detached from history’.

In her justly celebrated study The Primacy of Drawing, Deanna Petherbridge found it difficult, if not impossible to construct a history of drawing, detached from the painting or sculpture or architecture it often serves. The essential “frame” of drawing, comprising human hand, the material (graphite or ink or charcoal) and the supporting surface, has changed so little in such a very long time, she suggested, that a drawing made centuries ago can and often does look as fresh and surprising as a sketch made yesterday. Petherbridge defines “drawing,” that is, in much the same way Flusser defined a “dialogue,” namely as an exchange of information in the interest of new information, a quite intimate exchange between the drawer’s memory and the information—structures, possibilities, limitations—inherent in a medium.
Drawing is rarely if ever the result of artistic collaboration. In fact drawing, as Petherbridge frames it, coincides historically with the idea of the individual gifted with the power to originate—the idea that autopoesis seeks to dislodge. A start date is certainly difficult to pinpoint, but one could do worse than to link the originary genius model to the introduction of print in the mid-15th century. Certainly medieval artists made drawings. A few survive. But before the advent of print, the making of images was undertaken not to distinguish an individual, but to articulate the narratives—biblical and historical—that made the world meaningful. God was in charge of origins, and the sense of satisfaction one might have felt in having accomplished a particularly fine carving or illumination was surely understood as a sign of His favour rather than a personal achievement. Print, with all its attendant social and intellectual changes, relocated the site of origin to the gifted individual, validated his “signature” in a radically more systematic and precise way than had ever been possible or desirable before. Through the keeping and distributing of records—of exhibitions and sales, engraved or etched reproductions, sometimes conversations and opinions, the idea of an individual as origin quickly became naturalized. Simultaneously a gap opened between the print-mediated persona, represented as “originator”, and the actual experience of making something new, something more like a dialogue. Drawing remains the medium in which that kind of experience is most likely to have been stored. Drawing and print, then, emerge as complementary aspects of the same event. As if in reply to the first really powerful discursive medium, drawing absorbed the evidence of image-making as intimate dialogue. Other media were clearly used in the same way sometimes, but drawing has proved most effective in resisting the new powers of discourse, the link to ‘history’.
As long as artists could sustain a balance between working alone and participating in the historical discourse mediated through exhibition or print, the idea of the originary genius could go unchallenged. One thinks of the celebrated French Romantic painter Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863) as an example, perhaps primarily because he left a journal rich in evidence of diverse and very stimulating dialogue. At dinner parties, theatrical and musical performances, exhibitions, Delacroix regularly met France’s literary, political, scientific, social and artistic elite, informally exchanging views with them on topics of mutual interest. These were likely to include art. Many prominent politicians in mid-19th-century France had entered public life as art critics, honing their skills in political argument for an audience that understood image-making in terms of political discourse. A dialogue of such depth and diversity as Delacroix’s perhaps does not render long hours working in heroic isolation in the studio less admirable, nor the resulting images any less deserving of their immediate and durable place in historical discourse. But it does raise a legitimate question about where Delacroix’s work originated.
Delacroix’s career was apparently not affected by the advent of photography. Unlike some of his colleagues, he was optimistic about its potential, “if used to best advantage by ‘men of genius’”. He did not predict that photography would in time prove the single most effective force in dismantling the very idea of a “man of genius.” For “photogenic drawing” did confuse the issue of “origin.” Unlike hand drawing, photography most definitely does have a history, in fact one that may be understood to trace the emigration of “origin” out of the interstices of the exceptional mind and into a field of information exchange. New technologies, as one recent observer has pointed out, make it difficult not to collaborate.
Avant garde practice among visual artists—particularly in Futurism and Dada—drew models of collaboration from music, theatre and dance from the turn of the twentieth century. But it seems that collaboration was not discussed as a choice, a method or approach with quite specific opportunities and implications, until around 1970. At the time, the American sculptor Claes Oldenburg contrasted the “artist in the studio” as “rigid, violent and destructive (especially of self), and drunk or high (looking for sublimity),” with the “artist in collaborative situation, ”flexible, restrained, constructive, and sober (indifferent to sublimity, like airplane pilots)”
The list remains telling and provocative now, not least for its availability to other kinds of oppositions, such as infantile and mature, or masculine and feminine. But if artists ever really did imagine themselves actually facing such a choice, they are unlikely to have done so for long. To an extent we may be able to answer Wood’s question about “being drawn” positively, and so think of “creativity” in terms of flow of information that no one really possesses, the question can no longer be whether or not to collaborate. At most, it could be a decision to test and reshape one’s own memory in conjunction with the information stored in a given medium, or to engage with another human memory and allow the resulting decisions to dictate the medium. There are good reasons for doing either—or both, as many artists do. And there are good reasons to think that it isn’t precisely a choice in any case. One can not exactly go shopping for a way to make art. Some art is concerned with the possibilities and limitations of a single embodied consciousness. This is what determines its scope, and to a large extent its organization. To attempt to do such work collaboratively would be a kind of oxymoron. But many other kinds of practice—and Oldenburg’s long and very public engagement with sculptural scale clearly belongs in this category—fairly asks to be shared. For such projects, collaboration means that the practice can be more ambitious, complex, diverse, possibly even more stable than would be possible for an artist working alone.
In addition to such tactical advantages, collaboration represents one way of bridging the worsening disjunction between dialogue and discourse. Artists who have established themselves as artists are invariably people who know “dialogue” well. Able as they are to generate new information in exchange with a medium, they are no doubt more fortunate than those who, in the presence of powerful mass media discourses, are thrown back on dialogue at the level of local gossip. Still, the question of distribution persists. Without regular opportunities to exhibit or publish to preserve the achievement, the activity is closed-off in comparable manner. “People feel lonely despite dialogue because they feel ‘detached from history’.” Collaboration with other people potentially welds dialogue—the exchange that sparks something new—with something of discourse, for in a collaboration there will be at least one receiver, one reliable witness that something new has occurred.
But recent artistic collaborations also seem to articulate an aesthetic that values exchange and flow and this, I think, is the dimension that is genuinely new. For in this work neither the formal qualities of material nor the conceptual ambitions of its organization seem as significant as the dynamics of the particular relationships it mediates, whether these be between artists and work, work and viewers, or all of the above. The possibility that art might actually be about relationships was raised some time ago in the essay “Mass Culture and the Visual Arts,” There, in the context of his now-famous suggestion that the avant-garde might actually function as “the research and development arm of the culture industry,” Thomas Crow proposed that groups of avant garde artists, e.g. Futurists or Dadaists, had inadvertently modeled new kinds of group organization that were later important to the mainstream commercial structures, e.g. international corporations. This was surely very far from any Dadaist’s intention. The exhibition or performance of a particular kind of relationship was not the specific intention of most of the collaborating teams that Charles Green analyzed for his study The Third Hand, either. But in tracing changing forms of collaboration through the 1970s, Green also suggests that the shift from collaboration as a strategy is relocating the meaning of the resulting work, to a deepening interest in relationship per se. The collaborative performance work of Marina Abramovicz and Ulay, which concludes the book, also seem to be the most closely focused on the possibilities and limitations of a relationship between two specific “embodied subjects.”
Critical Art Ensemble, a collaborating team formed more recently, make this interest quite explicit.
[Since it was formed…in 1987] CAE has had a sustained interest in the variety of organizational possibilities from which artistic practice can emerge. Of particular interest have been the types of collectives that intersect artistic and activist practice. It is only through an understanding of this particular branch of sociology that the group believes it can refine and improve its own structure and dynamics, which makes thoughtful cultural production possible

With the possible exception of the later work of Ambramovicz and Ulay, successful collaborating teams seem to fastidiously respect, arguably even to nourish the boundaries of what used to be called “the individual.” Even in rethinking individuals as “embodied subjectivities,” in acknowledging cultural constructedness of subjects, these boundaries still matter. If anything the diversity of our experiences and memory become more precious than ever in the context of collaborative models of originality. For in such models, such gaps are exactly where something new can appear.

In the course of its intergalactic adventures, the crew of the Starship Enterprise occasionally encountered a cybernetic life form known as the Borg. The Borg are—or is—neither singular nor plural. Although they are recognizable bodies that move about and do things, they behave more like cells of a single animal than independent beings. As individuals, they have no convictions, no point of view. If one is sick or injured the relevant energies are reabsorbed into the hive-mind with no apparent regrets.
Within the fictional construct of the Star Trek, Borg are more highly evolved than humans. They don’t waste their energies fighting. They don’t compete. But they are repugnant and profoundly threatening because they do not make anything new. Instead of forging a history through dialogue and discourse as humans do, they parasitically absorb the cultures and technologies of other life forms.
If the crew of the Enterprise represents an idealized collaboration, the Borg articulate a fear that it all could go wrong. And if Star Trek as a whole perpetuates a great many untenable patriarchal and capitalist assumptions about the world, this one fear seems to resonate more deeply. The zeal for technically superb, efficient discourse could smooth out the oddities, peculiar histories and memories that make each human being unique. What would be lost then, it seems, is not riches or even power, but the peculiarly human capacity to make something new.

1. John Wood (2001) “Do Drawings Draw Themselves? Art, Co-poesis and Ecology” 199-210 IN: DrawingTexts, Jim Savage, ed., Occasional Press.
2. Vilem Flusser (2003) Kommunikologie, Mannheim: Bollmann Verlag, 17-18. Translation mine.
3. Deanna Petherbridge (1991) The Primacy of Drawing:an Artist’s View, London: The South Bank Centre. The Surealists’ exquisite corpse drawing is the exception that proves the rule. The serial collage of contributions strain the idea of collaboration as an exchange of information.
4. Eugène Delacroix (1951) The Journal of Eugène Delacroix, Hubert Wellington, ed., Oxford: Phaidon. Cited in Aaron Sharf (1986) Art and Photography, New York: Penguin, 121.
5. Claes Oldenburg, in Maurice Tuchman (1971) Art and Technology, New York: Viking Press, 269. IN: Henry Sayre (1989) The Object of Performance, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 102.
Since 1976 Oldenburg has worked in collaboration with wife Coosje van Bruggen.
6. Thomas Crow (1983) “Mass Culture and the Visual Arts.” 215-164 IN: Modernism and Modernity: The Vancouver Conference Papers, 253.
7. Charles Green (2001) The Third Hand:Collaboration in Art from Conceptualism to Post-Modernism, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
8. Critical Art Ensemble (1998) “Observations on Collective Cultural Action,” 73-85 IN: The Art Journal 57:2 (Summer). 73.
9. Paramount Pictures (2005) “Aliens,”, accessed 27 February

above copied from:



A second non-Pop vein, which specializes in social protest, should also be mentioned, if only to dispel confusion by placing it properly outside Pop Art,,, these Assemblage, or 'Doom' artists are the political satirists that Pop artists are not. They are all that Pop is not, and proclaimed themselves 'anti-Pop' in February 1964. They are anguished, angry, and hot where Pop is cool detached and assured. They omit nothing from their conglomerations of trash, paint, collage and objects, whereas the Pop artists omit almost everything from their direct presentation, and they are essentially pessimistic where Pop is optimistic. Belligerently romantic, as a group they come as close to Neo-Dada as is possible today.
—Lucy Lippard, "New York Pop," 19661

In his 1963 introduction to the NO!Show, Seymour Krim, editor of The Beats (an anthology of "Beat Generation" prose and poetry) and fellow iconoclast, had offered a deliberately belligerent, insider's definition of the cultural production of the collective. The statement presaged Lippard's inadvertent reference to NOIart as the embodiment of a set of inverted paradigmatic defining terms for Pop.

They use every handy esthetic device (collage with mixed technique, overprints, what Boris Lurie calls a "simultaneity of attack") that will torpedo the eye and rape your soul of cliches. They are a band of rapists in a sense, impatient, unsparing, open-flied and ready for action - "hot" pop artists out for copulation rather than cool ones doing doodles before a mirror.2

In 1964, an expurgated (and somewhat misunderstood) excerpt of Krim's statement was cited in Edward T. Kelly's Art Journal article, "Neo-Dada: A Critique of Pop," wherein the author was attempting to reinvest diverse forms of neo-Dada (including the specific sub-set that had come to be associated with the redescribed rubric "Pop Art", with what he perceived to be a culturally ethical intentionality that crossed then recently imposed lines of demarcation among the newly canonized and the soon to be historiographically disempowered.3

Although Kelly goes so far as to make brief (and obviously reserved) note of the "Suggestion" that "the Pop Art movement itself was inspired by an attempt to make NO!art a more palatable commodity for a public willing to invest in satiric games,"4 it could convincingly be argued that the author's primary intention in the article was not simply to serve as Champion for the politically engaged collective. As is evidenced by his repeated critique of statements presented during a December 1962 symposium mounted by the Museum of Modern Art (an event which marked the ascendancy to power of the rubric "pop art"),5 Kelly was very much aware that he was participating in a broader cultural debate and that his opponents were the then dominant conservators of hierarchical value and normative idealistic aesthetics.

The extent to which the institution of art initially felt threatened by neo-Dada's critique of its inherently hierarchical, formalist assumptions is evident through perusal of the transcript for MoMA's "Symposium on Pop Art," as well as through review of numerous articles on the new art that appeared in the contemporary art press. For example, the January 1963 issue of Art International was dominated by a set of articles discussing "The New Realists, Neo-Dada, Le nouveau realisme, Pop Art, The New Vulgarians, Common Object Painting, and Know-nothing genre." Barbara Rose opened "Dada Then and Now," the lead essay in the issue, with the observation that, although no one could possibly believe that World War I era European Dada was still a vital "art style (emphasis mine)," the term had been resurrected in an attempt to describe the production of such disparate contemporary artists as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Jim Dine, Claes Oldenburg, Allan Kaprow, Tom Wesselmann, Robert Whitman, Robert Indiana, James Rosenquist, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Wayne Theibaud,6 Rose continues: "Anti-art, anti-war, anti-materialism, Dada, the art of the politically and socially engaged, apparently has little in common with the cool detached art it is supposedly to have spawned.”7 Persistently describing neo-Dada in formalist, "pro-art" terms, the author attempts to correct what she describes as "popular misconceptions" that the "new Dada is an art of social protest" and that it is "anti-art."8 Through its repeated reference to "a cool and detached art," "Dada Then and Now" celebrates the codification of the art establishment's chosen set of defining principles for North American Pop Art. Conversely, through its rejection of a coterminous set of descriptive terms then applied to neo-Dada -- anti-art, anti-war, anti-materialism (in other words, those characteristics prerequisite to an art of social/and or political protest) the essay confirms the initiation of the historical disempowerment of the more overtly radical proponents of what was considered at the time to be a "new humanism," and for which NO!art served as paradigmatic model.

By 1966, Lippard could comfortably close her brief reference to "the old March Gallery group"9 with the assertion that it is "a febrile dispersiveness about Doom productions (irate manifestos, exhibitions titled ‘The Vulgar Show,' 'the Doom Show,’'The Involvement Show,' The No Show'), which fatally weakens them despite their devotion to admirable causes."10 Two years earlier, Kelly had proposed that it was the overt violence evidenced in "NO Art" [sic] that had understandably "thus far (impeded the collective's accrual of the) giddy success enjoyed by Pop Art."11 In his attempt to validate this proposition, the author referenced yet another intentionally combative, in house presentation of the collective's public face.

Writing in the poster-announcement for the 'NO Show,’ Seymour Krim, editorial director of Nugget magazine, cites the essential qualities of NO
as: ‘art that screams, roars, vomits, rages, goes mad, murders, rapes, commits every bloody act it can to express only a shred of the human emotions that lie prisoner beneath the sanitary tiles here in adman's utopia.'12

I would like to turn for a moment to the opening of an admittedly less "febrile," yet adamantly anti-formalist manifesto authored by Claes Oldenburg two years prior to Krim's NO! proclamation. Oldenburg, it should be noted, would later be counted as the fifth "hard-core Pop artist" listed, "in order of their commitment" (alongside Warhol, Lichtenstein, Wesselmann, and Rosenquist) in Lippard's 1966 compilation of the "New York five."13

I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum ... I am for an art that embroils itself with everyday crap and still comes out on top. I am for an art that imitates the human, that is comic if necessary, or violent, or whatever is necessary. I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and course and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.14

Oldenburg's manifesto first appeared in print in the catalogue for Martha Jackson Gallery's 1961 Environments, Situations. Spaces exhibition, during which the artist presented his first version of The Store. At that point in time, North American critics could not help but have aligned his artistic production, alongside that of many of his co-participants in what would soon thereafter come to be called American Pop Art, with "happenings," "new realism," "common object art,' and "the new vulgarians," all of which were coterminous with the hotly debated rubric, "neo-Dada." Within a few short years, however, Oldenburg would make an almost seamless transition from his early "messy" experiments with environments and happenings into the ranks of the purportedly cool and a-political newly codified North American Pop Art canon. Nonetheless, it is important to note that he would intermittently maintain his affiliation with the "underground" long after his position in the mainstream was secure.

Although it is generally assumed that rigid lines of demarcation between those artists who entered the contemporary canon and those whose affiliations remained with the artistic counterculture of the period were clear cut, it is not that simple. For example, in 1967 the aforementioned manifesto was reprinted in Store Days (Documents selected by Oldenburg and Fluxus performer and visual poet, Emmett Williams) and published by Something Else Press Inc. (New York/Villefrance-sur-mer/Frankfurt am Main), a prolific, Fluxus affiliated publication project that served as distribution mechanism for works by an international assembling of artists who were attempting to break down the lines of demarcation among media and between art and life.15 Although not a central Member of the Fluxus community, Oldenburg was regularly counted among the movement's participants. So too were Allan Kaprow, whom Lippard would describe in 1966 as the father of "Happenings”16 and Cologne based Wolf Vostell, inventor of Dé-collage. Both Kaprow and Vostell were also counted among the ranks of fellow travellers in NO!art. Vostell would later insist that, in the early sixties, Warhol "ran around New York taking in everything" and subsequently incorporated Fluxus artist Jackson McLow's ideas about me new cinema into his own film production.17

Conversely, during a 1963 interview on the topic, "What is Pop Art," Warhol discussed his own image making in terms that can not help but bring NO!art, and in particular Boris Lurie's pin-ups, directly to mind. When asked by G. R. Swenson to discuss his "Death" pictures, Warhol begins by making reference to cherry bombs, bloody crowds, "Death in America," his Electric Chair series, car wrecks, suicide pictures, decapitations and exploded body parts reproduce … the Enquirer, and plane crashes. The artist then continues: My next series will be pornographic pictures. They will look blank; when you turn on the black lights, then you see them — big breasts and … If a cop came in, you could just flick out the lights or turn on the regular lights -- how could you say that was pornography? But I'm still practicing with these yet.18

Almost a decade after the battle was purportedly over, Emanuel K. Schwartz and Reta Shacknove Schwartz published a somewhat eccentric, yet exceedingly insightful, collaborative essay on "NO-ART" in Leonardo. The psychoanalyst / artist team insisted that (in direct reaction to the McCarthy era) the 1959-64 movement "gave leadership to later cultural developments; such as, unisex; underground films and press; demonstration = confrontation; art of the street and finally, open violence and rebellion in the streets (Paris 1968)."19 Although the authors make brief reference to formal "resemblances" among NO! and Dada, it is to NO! art that they turn when attempting to discuss what they describe as the "aesthetics of protest,” and it is the NO-artist whom they identify as the paradigmatic "social critic."20 After citing a number of venerated examples of art-specific critiques and condemnations of society that had entered the art historical canon, the authors posit that "the NO-art group, however, turns the audience off perhaps because these artists 'act out' the action and esthetic distance between observer and the art object is lost,"21 a proposition that brings to mind Harold Rosenberg's pivotal 1952 anti-formalist essay, "The American Action Painters," wherein the critic insisted that the innovation of Action Painting was to dispense with representation in favor of enactment.22

In 1974, Rosenberg authored a brief essay in support of NO!art which opens with reference to Andy Warhol's "innocuous" disaster images and a less than subtle critique of Clement Greenberg, Rosenberg's formalist rival.23 The author describes the NO!artists as the legitimate heirs of Dada, distinguishes their activities from the "post-dada(production) of Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein and other housetrained kittens," and insists that Lurie, Sam Goodman, Stanley Fisher, et al anticipated Documents V by a decade.24 The essay closes with a set of belligerent indictments directed against the institution of art, and in particular the discipline of art history.25 Although this statement was presented as an appendix, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the "irate" manifestos that Lucy Lippard had condemned in 1966 as one of NO!art's fatal faults.

1. Will NO! Art be co-opted by art history?

2. Does it seek cooption?

3. Will shit multiples be produced by Marlboro, Pace and Castelli to comInforate this episode
of art history?

4. Will a retrospective shit show be sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the
New York State Council for the Arts? -5. If not, is this omission a falsification of art history?

6. What about other artists who have existed but have been omitted from art history?26

Curiously enough, in response to imperatives of the post-World War II period (and a decade prior to the consolidation of the "old March Gallery group"), Rosenberg had served as spokesman for the a-politicization of North American Art, as is evidenced in a statement that appeared in the editorial preface for the proto-Abstract Expressionist journal, Possibilities I.

Naturally the deadly political situation exerts enormous pressure. The temptation is to conclude that organized social thinking is "more serious" than the act that sets free in contemporary experience forms which experience has made possible ... Once the political choice has been made, art and literature ought of course to be given up. Whoever genuinely believes he knows how to save humanity from catastrophe has a job before him which is certainly not part time.27
By 1974, Rosenberg's agenda may well have shifted as the critic attempted to respond to his then specific context. It remains to be seen how the imperatives of our own present will inform the current historiographic reinvestigation of the aesthetics of Doom.
1 Lucy R. Lippard, "New York Pop," Pop An, Lacy R. Lippard, ed,, (London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1966/88) pp. 102-103.
2 Seymour Krim, "NO! Show, 1963" reproduced in NO!art, Boris Lurie and Seymour Krim, eds., (Berlin/Cologne: Edition Hundertmark, 1988) p. 22.
3 Edward T. Kelly, "Neo-Dada: A Critique of Pop Art," Art Journal XXHI:3,
Spring, 1964, p. 194. Kelly reproduces only the very last clause of this proclamation, and makes the assumption that Krim is here comparing NO!art to Abstract Expressionism rather than to Pop. Of the relationship among NO!art, Pop, and Dada Kelly writes, "As to whether Pop Art 'bears only superficial resemblance to Dada,' I do agree, but solely on formal and iconographic grounds, if we investigate the deeper meanings of Pop and NO, and their more ultimate purposes ... the relationship to dada becomes quite clear." Ibid., p. 196.
4 Ibid., p. 194.
5 An edited transcript of the "MoMA symposium appeared in print some months later. See, "A Symposium on Pop Art," Arts Magazine, 37:7, April 1963. For an indepth analysis of the ramifications of this event see, Estera Milman, "Pop Art/Pop Culture: Neo-Dada and the Politics of Plenty," The Image in Dispute: Visual Cultures in Modernity, Dudley Andrew, ed. (Austin: The University of Texas Press, 1995).
6 Barbara Rose, "Dada Then and Now," Art International, 7:1, January, 1963, p. 23.
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid., p. 24.
9 Lippard, p. 102.
10 Lippard, p. 103.
11 Kelly, p. 194.
12 Krim cited in Kelly, p. 194. In the original version, Krim begins the statement with the insistence that "We need an art..."
13 Lippard, p. 69.
14 Claes Oldenburg, "Store Days," in Modern Dreams: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Pop, (Cambridge, MA/London; MIT Press, 1988) p. 105, Interestingly enough, Kelly reproduces a segment of another of Oldenburg's manifestos in his Spring 1964 Art Journal article. Kelly introduces the citation by describing its author as "one of the most prominent of the Pop artists. Kelly.” pp, 197-8.
15 For an authoritative discussion of the publishing project/gallery, see Dick Higgins, "Two Sides of a Coin: Fluxus and Something Else Press," in Fluxus: A Conceptual Country, Estera Milman, contributing ed. and curator, (Providence: Visible Language, 1992). Higgins, who is counted as one of the founding members of the Fluxus collective concurrently founded the press in 1964.
16 Lippard, p. 74.
17 Wolf Vostell, "No Blood ... Please...," in Lurie/Krim, p. 18. Individuals interested in Warhol's relationship to Fluxus should look, for example, to Jonas Mekas' Film Culture #45 (1968) and to his 1992 film, Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas, which premiered as part of the film festival portion of Fluxus: A Conceptual Country. Conversely, In and Around Fluxus: Film Festival and Fluxfilm Environments (curated by Mekas) recreated a film evening mounted at Maciunas' proto-Fluxus, AG Gallery in 1961, an event which included the screening of the late Ray Wisniewski's Doomshow (1960).
18 Andy Warhol cited in G R. Swenson, "What is Pop Art?," Art News, 62:7,
November 1963, pp. 60-61.
19 Emanuel K. Schwartz and Reta Shacknove Schwartz, "No-Art: An American Psycho-Social Phenomenon," Leonardo? Vol. 4, 1971, p. 248.
20 Ibid., p. 250.
21 Ibid., p. 251.
22 Harold Rosenberg, "The American Action Painters," Art News 51/8, December 1952, p. 27.
23 Harold Rosenberg, "Bull by the Horns," in Lurie/Krim, p. 91.
24 Ibid.
25 Ibid., p. 92.
26 Ibid.
27 Editorial Preface, Possibilities I: An Occasional Review? Winter 1947/48. Although this statement is signed by both Rosenberg and Robert Motherwell, two of the periodical's four editors, it is generally credited to Rosenberg.
Estera Milman curated in 2000/1 the first North American retrospective of early works by the NO!art cooperative of artists active in New York since the early 1960s at Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art in Evanston.

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