"The First Rule of Engagement: Never ask permission. Just appear."
The Praxis Group is a Minneapolis-based unit which stages site-specific, unsanctioned and unsolicited projects within the confines of public spaces which are privately owned. Using the particular rules established by a specific institution as well as incorporating the architectural site, the Praxis Group creates situations which challenge the various apparatuses of control with in an institution. By subverting the cultural and representational practices of specific locations, the Praxis Group represents a paradoxical threat - the conflict created when a large group of individuals systematically challenges the doctrine of a singular space, by following the established rules.
From 1990-1993, the Praxis Group performed The Art Strike, in which they abstained from creating art (aside from the strike itself, of course) during this three-year period. The strike's intention was to call attention to the necessity of art in our society, contemporary social apathy to art in the North Atlantic democracies, and also to create problems for gallery owners and those who benefit from the commoditization of art. When they declared their intention to organize an Art Strike from January 1st 1990 to January 1st 1993, they fully intended that this proposed inaction should create as many problems as it resolved. The importance of the Art Strike lies not in its feasibility but in the possibilities it opens up for addressing a series of issues: How 'artists' define their identity, how this identity affects the 'artist's' ability to engage with the surrounding culture. According to some members of the group, writing after the event, The Art Strike was a bad idea, because, they wrote, "art is a product which, if withheld, can easily be replaced by any other commodity, cars, artificial sex partners and the like. Those who adopt 'art' as a substitute for life will necessarily experience the Art Strike as a form of death." The Praxis Group, however, understand that 'death,' like 'art' and 'individuality,' is nothing but an ideological construct.
You can visit their website at http://www.waste.org/praxis/index.html