Cooperation and Contradiction
In keeping with developments around the globe, the artists working in New Jersey after World War II prioritized participation and collaboration; many projects in this exhibition were coauthored. Some were created by groups of artists, while others involved the assistance of audience members, effectively erasing the distinction between professional and amateur, artist and spectator. At the heart of many of these experiments in cooperative action was a commitment to equality, sociability, and democracy. Just as often, however, such events and performances aimed to express humanity’s dark side, one characterized by antagonism and alienation, reflecting the acute social divisions of the 1960s and violent military conflicts like the Vietnam War.