“I want to give form to the end of the Idealization of Democracy,” claims one of Europe's leading artists, Thomas Hirschhorn. The statement may seem surprising, given Hirschhorn's status as a poster-boy for promoting democracy through art, yet the drive to de-idealize democracy has long been crucial to his practice. This article examines how de-idealization has emerged in such projects as Swiss Swiss Democracy and Chalet Lost History, as a critique of art theory's promotion of Democracy during the “War on Terror,” and by remobilizing critiques of Democracy seen in earlier, late-communist practices. The coalescence of these two factors is central to understanding Hirschhorn's work in terms of postsocialism as distinct from postcommunism: as a remobilization of past nonconformism outside the space and time of late-communist Europe, and as the overlooked core to Hirschhorn's practice of “making art politically.”

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