Stewart Martin: The Artistic Strike

'Confession in Support of the Art Strike 1990-93', graphic from Yawn No.2, undated.

The ‘Abstract Strike’ platform in Milan and Venice, in conjunction with the Biennale, 2015; Ulf Aminde’s ‘Strike:Opera’ #3, 2013, and #3.1, 2014; the ‘Art Strike Biennial in Alytus’, 2009; the ‘SPART [= SPort + ART] Strike’ in Northern Island, 2009-12; the artistic collective Claire Fontane’s proposal of a ‘human strike’, since c. 2005… It appears that the notion of a strike in the field of art has some currency today.
Stewart Martin’s talk will attempt to consider what we are confronted with by this notion, reflecting on its strange and precarious history, from Lee Lozano’s ‘General Strike Piece’, 1969, to Gustav Metgzer’s ‘Years Without Art’, 1977-80, and its repetition in the ‘Art Strike’ of 1990-93. The general aim will be to offer an orientation to some of the fundamental questions posed by these phenomena: Who is an artist, such that s/he can strike? What is art, such that it can be the matter of a strike? And what is a strike, such that it can be a matter for artists and/or art?

An event in the series Plastic Givens: Some Incidents Between Production and Abolition
by Marina Vishmidt & Anthony Iles.

Anthony Iles is a writer of criticism and fiction based in London. He is a PhD candidate at Middlesex University, a contributing editor with Mute / Metamute,, and an editor of the forthcoming publication on writing and crisis Anguish Language (Archive Books),

Marina Vishmidt is a London-based writer occupied mainly with questions around art, labor and value. She is the author of Speculation as a Mode of Production (Brill, early 2016) and A for Autonomy (with Kerstin Stakemeier) (Textem, 2015). She also works regularly with Anthony Iles and with Melanie Gilligan. She collaborates with artists and contributes to journals such as Mute, Afterall, Texte zur Kunst, and the South Atlantic Quarterly, as well as co-/edited collections and catalogs,most recently Anguish Language (Archive Books, forthcoming). She is part of the Theory faculty at the Dutch Art Institute, a visiting lecturer at Middlesex University and the University of Brighton, and has taught at the University of the Arts in Berlin, Central Saint Martins, and Goldsmiths.

Stewart Martin is Reader in Philosophy and Fine Art at Middlesex University and a member of the editorial collective for the journal Radical Philosophy. His publications include: ‘Political economy of life: Negt and Kluge’s History and Obstinacy’, Radical Philosophy, 2015; ‘Approaching Marx’s aesthetics, or what is sensuous practice?’ in Re/New Marxist Art History, Art/Books Press, 2013; ‘Short Treatise on Art’, in Aesthetics and Contemporary Art, Sternberg Press, 2011; ‘Artistic Communism – A Sketch’, Third Text, 2009; ‘The Absolute Artwork Meets The Absolute Commodity’, Radical Philosophy, 2007.

Middlesex Universität London / Stewart Martin


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