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Auerbach Lecture | 06.11.2023 | 18 Uhr

Massimiliano Mollona (Art, Anthropology, Bologna): ART/COMMONS. On communist art and the labour of the unartist


"Artists of the world drop out; you have nothing to lose but your profession!” Echoing Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto, and its vision of revolutionary art as refusal of bourgeois modes of doing and living, in The Education of the Unartist (1993) Allan Kaprow tells young artists to drop art making and embrace life. The central quality of the unartist, according to Duchamp, is their fluidity and “plasmasticity” that is, their ability to shapeshift and resist capture from the commodity form. For both Duchamp and Kaprow the unartist is a figure of resistance against speculative capitalism. Following this legacy of communist art, the talk discusses some contemporary art practices aimed at developing commons, that is areas of autonomy from the capture of capital, and the relevance, or not, of socially engaged art for society at large.