When artist Raivo Puusemp (b. 1942, EE/US) was voted mayor of Rosendale, New York, in 1975, the village was plagued by an overbearing tax structure and problems with municipal utilities. Following his election and throughout his tenure, Rosendale’s residents were not aware of Puusemp’s practice as a conceptual artist, his early interest in phenomenology, nor his later experiments with group dynamics and socio-political processes. Puusemp’s approach to the post was, however, an artistic one. He believed that in politics, influence and concept could come together compatibly. Employing conceptual strategies to tackle the village’s issues, Puusemp viewed the situation as an artwork in the form of a political problem.
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