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The Artist as Director: ‘Artist Organisations International’ and its Contradictions

‘Artist Organisations International’, Hebbel am Ufer (HaU), Berlin, 10 January 2015. Photograph: Lidia Rossner. Courtesy HaU, Florian Malzacher, Studio Jonas Staal and Joanna Warsza
Ekaterina Degot reflects on the turn towards activist institutions and ‘artistic NGOs’. In his famous 1935 lecture on the political position of Surrealism, delivered as the Second World War was fast approaching, André Breton stated that humanity lived ‘in an era in which man belongs to himself less than ever, in which he is held responsible for the totality of his acts, no longer before a single conscience, his own, but before a collective conscience of all those who want to have no more to do with a monstrous system of slavery and hunger’.