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2012 | 7 | 38-43

Article title

Artist Run Initiatives (ARI) – cechy ogólne i analiza wybranych przykładów historycznych w Czechosłowacji i Republice Czeskiej


Title variants

Artist Run Initiatives (ARI) – the General Features and the Analysis of Selected Historical Examples in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic

Languages of publication



The essay questions the position of artist run initiatives in the countries of the former Soviet Bloc, particularly in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, during the communist regime and compares them to similar institutions working today. The general thesis is that the self-organised activities of artists under a totalitarian state or in the times of economical crisis lead to similar strategies. Therefore the history of unofficial art in the former Soviet Bloc cannot be understood as shaped exclusively by the conditions of the communist state. In general terms it is similar to the artist run initiatives or theoretical models elsewhere, for example the Temporary Autonomous Zones by Hakim Bey or different independent art institutions in Western Europe or USA. Artist run initiatives are often physically attached to certain places which influences their mission and their activities. The alternative to the official institutional system creates parallel community, formed by different art groups, galleries or by a whole community that shares similar interests, vocabulary and values. Sometimes – and especially in Eastern Europe – creating a social network is more important that art production or the establishment of theoretical framework. Art is often a mere pretext for a desired social activity that cannot be fulfilled in another way. The traditional values of art criticism are not sufficient here. The works clearly have not only an aesthetic value, but also an ethical one.






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Publication order reference


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