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Audrey Peiper

Collective Inclusion: The Relationship Between Visual Arts Institutions and Collaborative Artists Groups

           During art’s modern period, many artists sought cooperative methods of art making and authorship. Nevertheless, the sensibilities of arts institutions have been indelibly informed by a recognition of the singular artist’s vision and they seem hard-pressed to relinquish this position.

            There has been an apparent tendency in U.S.-based, publicly-funded, non-profit visual arts institutions to not exhibit the work produced by artist collaborative groups and collectives. In order to identify why these institutions generally appear reluctant to do so, this paper examines the relationship and interaction between them and artist groups, both from the perspective of the groups and of the institutions. It draws connections between established conventions of the performing arts, which accommodate groups of artists—for example, orchestras or dance troupes—within their conceptual and administrative structures. Examination of case studies in which artist groups and visual arts organizations successfully interact aids in identifying a model providing ideal conditions under which groups and institutions may collaborate to mutual benefit.

            Research includes sources highlighting artist collective and institutional practice. To draw possible connections between institutional practice and art market preferences and, thus, the perceived value of group-made artworks, this paper also examines records detailing works collected, comparing the frequency and price of acquisition of collective-made artworks and individual-made works. Interviews with notable artist groups, curators and other institutional representatives provide primary material regarding advantages and disadvantages for both sides in terms of logistical, budgetary and authorial concerns regarding these interactions.


          Audrey Peiper received a BA in Art History and Literature from Washington University in 1999. At SAIC, she co-curated two exhibitions and completed a Development/Marketing internship at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. She co-founded the mobile arts venue Locus, through which she facilitates creative projects and events.


Thesis Advisor: Gregory Sholette Assistant Professor, Arts Administration

Thesis Reader: Brett Bloom Instructor, Arts Administration; Member, Temporary Services


















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