I find it most disturbing when moral judgements are attached to collaborative vs individual work. I keep seeing it portrayed as a matter of generosity vs selfishness, and I find this to be such a shallow understanding of creative output. There seems to be a need to portray really obvious and direct benefit from one’s actions; to have a clearly justifiable purpose….one that reflects one’s good intentions….one that creates one’s identity.
That’s why I find much of this “new groupthink” is actually narcisstic (at least as it relates to art activities), while the more selfish-appearing actions of the individual worker are free of that identity quest/narcissism. And with that, I contribute my moral judgement to the issue 🙂
More objectively, it’s great to have data supporting the benefits of individual work. Go introverts!
Yeah, applying this to the art world, there seem to be a lot of tossed-off casual dismissals of the artist who “works alone in the studio” and is therefore participating in an “outmoded romantic myth” and “doesn’t engage with the community” or “contribute to the dialogue”. Ick.
a lot of great art from the last century was born out of scenes. even people who have more individualized practices are usually still socializing and sharing/debating ideas.
when i think about collaborative works from a few decades ago, it seems like they’ve usually been filed and presented as these kind of weird, fun tangents to the more ‘important’ work. in other cases, the credit’s just given to one artist…
In reference to this article, I keep thinking back to a study of aging artists in NY that was published a couple of years ago. One of the findings was that these older artists, who were all pretty traditionally studio-based practitioners, had really high levels of civic engagement and interacted with others artists on a daily basis, then closed the studio door and did their thing. I’m not reading the NYT article here as isolationist, anti-engagement or anti-collaboration, just making the case that there are differing aptitudes for working and different kinds of problems are dealt with better in different ways, the closed door being one of them. I tend to suspect there are some instances where the group may perform better than than the individual and some where the individual may perform better. Like some of the other folks are sayings, there can be a certain pressure toward group and collaborative work, especially around cultural and academic institutions and it’s nice to see someone pushing back a little.
Agree with pretty much everything everyone says above!