TO SOME, THE NOTION of collectivism lies at the heart of twentieth-century utopian visions, evoking the image of selfless communities defined by what they share (labor, space, property, belief systems). In contrast to individualism, collectivism connotes the ideals of community, solidarity, proximity, and trust. To others—whose formation in the art and political world was shaped by collective experience under totalitarianism—collectivism resonates in disturbing ways, conjuring the underside of those ideals: submission to authority, censorship, and surveillance. Despite the recent popularity of collaborative and collective art practices, collectivism is not itself a value. In communitarian societies, as in art communities, the value of collectivism is determined by the quality of relations among those who maintain it.
In their introduction to Collectivism After Modernism: The Art of Social
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