The Art Strike: 1990-1993

June 2, 2009 · Print This Article

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Today, while trolling around the web. I found a link from Eyeteeth about Andy Sturdevant’s research into The Art Strike 1990-1993 on his blog South 12th.

“We call for all artists in the U.S. to put down their tools and cease to make, distribute, sell, exhibit or discuss their work from January 1, 1990 to January 1, 1993. We call for all galleries, museums, agencies, alternative spaces, periodicals, theaters, art schools etc., to cease all operations for the same period. Art is conceptually defined by a self-perpetuating elite and is marketed as an international commodity; the activity of its production has been mystified and co-opted; its practitioners have become manipulable and marginalized through self-identification with the term ‘artist’ and all it implies.’ – YAWN

The proposed early-’90s Art Strike is an interesting and largely forgotten footnote in contemporary art history. I encountered it for the first time while doing some research with back issues of Artpaper, the paper of record for the 1980s and ’90s art scene in Minneapolis-St. Paul. A full-page ad reproduced the text of YAWN’s inaugural broadsheet, and listed various resources one could write to learn more. Two ‘Action Committees’ — one in London, one in San Francisco — were listed, as well as YAWN’s mailing address in Iowa City, Iowa.”

view South 12th here
view Yawn’s site here