An artist collective is an initiative that is the result of a group of artists working together, usually under their own management, towards shared aims. The aims of an artist collective can include almost anything that is relevant to the needs of the artist, this can range from purchasing bulk materials, sharing equipment, space or materials, through to following shared ideologies, aesthetic and political views or even living and working together as an extended family. Sharing of ownership, risk, benefits, and status is implied, as opposed to other, more common business structures with an explicit hierarchy of ownership such as an association or a company.
Artist collectives have occurred throughout history, often gathered around central resources, for instance the ancient sculpture workshops at the marble quarries on Milos in Greece and Carrara in Italy. Collectives featured during both the Russian revolution when they were set up by the state in all major communities, and the French Revolution when the Louvre in Paris was occupied as an artist collective.
More traditional artist collectives tend to be smallish groups of two to eight artists who produce work, either collaboratively or as individuals toward exhibiting together in gallery shows or public spaces. Often an artists collective will maintain a collective space, for exhibiting or as workshop or studio facilities. Some newer, more experimental kinds of groups include intentional networks, anonymous, connector, hidden or nested groups, and groups with unconventional time-scales. Artist collectives may be formed: For economic reasons, to give members volume purchasing power and allow costs of publicity and shows to be shared. For political reasons, to increase local lobbying power for arts infrastructure, to gather behind a cause or belief. For professional reasons, to develop a higher group profile that benefits the individuals by association, to create a hub for curators and commissioners to more easily locate potential talent.
Artist collectives are significant to the artist's practice in part because of the increased collective intelligence made possible by the cross-combination of multiple creative minds and disciplines, the cross-fertilization of ideas and approaches and also due to the social richness and networking capacities involved.
Selected art collectives
- A.a.s (art group)
- Allied Arts Guild (Menlo Park, CA) (US)
- Alterazioni Video
- American Abstract Artists
- Ant Farm
- the ARC group
- Artel of Artists
- BGL (Québec City, Canada)
- Brew House Association (Pittsburgh, PA, USA)
- Brixton Artists Collective
- Cacophony Society
- Chicago Artists' Coalition
- Critical Art Ensemble
- Experimental Skeleton
- Fashion Architecture Taste
- General Idea (Canada)
- Guerrilla Girls
- Guma guar (Czech)
- House of YES (Brooklyn, NY)
- Independents (Oporto artist group)
- island6 (China)
- Kroesos Foundation
- Liu Dao (Shanghai)
- The Mischief Makers (Nottingham, UK)
- My Barbarian
- Neue Slowenische Kunst
- NMP (art collective)
- Paper Rad
- Phylum (San Francisco, CA, US)
- Reclaim the Streets
- Red Herring Artists(UK)
- Royal Chicano Air Force
- San Francisco Mime Troupe
- Satellite Collective (New York City, NY, US)
- SITO (US)
- Temporary Services (US)
- Torolab (Mexico)
- Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art (Minneapolis)
- fr:Transquinquennal (French) (Brussels, Belgium)
- United Congress
- Uranian Phalanstery (New York City, New York)
- Volatile Works (Montreal)
- Vox Populi (Philadelphia)
- xurban collective
- Yellow House Artist Collective
- "Artists’ Collective and Burial Society Goes on the Move". New York Times. September 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
- "The Curious Mystery of the Sidewalk Tombstone". New York Times. July 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
Mr. Lankenau found the marker in front of 326 East Fourth Street, which for decades has housed the Uranian Phalanstery and First Gnostic Lyceum, an artists’ collective and burial society founded by Richard Oviet Tyler and his wife, Dorothea. The three-story double-width brick town house, which was just sold for more than $3 million, contained a small synagogue for a congregation of immigrants from Knyahynychi, now in Ukraine.
- Artist Collectives
- Searchable database of Art Groups and Collective in Canada and the US
- Virtual Library list of Ceramic Arts Guilds, Groups, and Collectives
- Chicago group Temporary Services webliography of "Groups and Spaces" includes many artists' collectives
- A doctoral study of Exploding Cinema, a London collective of artists and filmmakers