Cover, image source: Weinspach

Publisher Note

In late 2001, Palais de Tokyo (with curators Jérôme Sans and Marc Sanchez) published a book consisting of a compilation of hundreds of answers to a single question: 'What is the artist’s role today?'

The book ('What is the artist’s role today?/ Quel est le rôle de l’artiste aujourd’hui?') was part of an editorial project by the curators, re-engaging the debate on the possibilities and limitations of contemporary art and discussing the direction the newly founded Palais de Tokyo would take as an art institution.

'Is the artist necessary for making art today?' is our homage to the project and (in light of years past and means of communication and terms of authorship in all disciplines radically changed) our derivation and continuation of the original question.

On a smaller and a more personal scale than Palais de Tokyo we started 2015 by emailing this question to friends and colleagues. Compilations of answers, statements and contributions were published online on covertext.org, and subsequently as a selection in this book.

Swantje Lichtenstein & Tom Lingnau