ART AND DEBT: THE ARTIST AS DEBTOR

Art and Debt is a platform dedicated to a discussion about the growing massive debt of art students and the effect it has on the work of artists.

The website was founded to coincide with a conference, The Artist as Debtor at Cooper Union on January 23, 2015 hosted by Coco Fusco and Noah Fischer.

More about the conference: “We live in an era of unprecedented profits from contemporary art sales and massive debts incurred by art students. Are these phenomena related? Is it a coincidence that in an age in which art can be made from nothing, the price attached to an art degree is staggeringly high? Contemporary art institutions amass great wealth through real estate development and the value of their holdings — why then do museums, art-related businesses and art schools rely so heavily on precarious and unpaid labor provided by artists? What are the connections between big money in the art world and the big debts taken on by so many young artists? Are artists encouraged to believe that extreme economic disparity is just part of the way the art world works? Do romantic ideas about merit and talent mask a system of indenture?”

 

UPDATED LISTS OF ART CONSULTANTS/ART ADVISORS AND MUSEUM AND INDEPENDENT CURATORS

List of 376 corporate art consultants/advisors nationwide and abroad, and paper printout of 272 snail mail addresses of corporate art consultants/advisors.

List of 944 of snail mail addresses of museum and independent curators nationwide who specialize in contemporary art. Includes annotated notes with important comments and 442 email addresses.

Both lists are available as a paper printout, via Dropbox, and as a CD. Visit

ARTISTS: BUILDING A REPUTATION ONLINE

One of the most important ways for artists to directly participate in building an online reputation is through the use of press releases. In the 20th century, press release targets were limited to print publications, and radio and television. In addition, print publications required a lead time of 4-6 months. Today, target markets for press release dissemination offers many more possibilities, including blogs, e-zines, and digital versions of print publications. And, of course, the required lead time has shortened considerably.

Unfortunately, the press release is a tool underutilized by artists. Although a press release should be written to announce and describe anything newsworthy, the problem with many artists is either they are too humble, or too absorbed with aesthetic problems, or the bumps of daily living to recognize what about themselves is newsworthy or they view the media as an inaccessible planet that grants visas only to famous artists. As a consequence, many artists let press release opportunities pass by.

IN BEHALF OF ARTISTS, W.A.G.E. SENDS AN IMPORTANT LETTER TO THE NEW MUSEUM

The very proactive organization W.A.G.E. (Working Artists for a Greater Economy) sent a very insightful letter to the New Museum in New York City:

“You recently announced expansion plans that will double the amount of space you currently occupy on the Bowery and that you have already successfully raised $43 million of the $80 million needed to do it.

“Congratulations – that’s big news. It could also be big news for the hundreds of artists who supply the content for your programs each year. After all, if you plan to double in size, surely there will be a significant increase in the number of programs being produced, which would surely provide income to more of the artists upon whose work your existence is predicated.

“If you were W.A.G.E. Certified that would certainly be the case, since you’d have committed to paying artists according to minimum standards of compensation.”

To read the letter in full and learn more about the organization, visit 

ARTISTS AND THEIR SELF-IMPOSED HIERARCHY

“Some artists adhere to a self-imposed hierarchy of believing that you have to “start small and work your way up.” Other artists believe that their market is limited to their town or city of residence, or that some sort of universal censorship is imposed, illogically concluding that there is no market “anywhere” for their work if they are unable to find a receptive audience in their hometown.” From How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist ©Caroll Michels 2016.

“WHEN ARTISTS GET TOGETHER THEY TALK ABOUT REAL ESTATE,” PART 2

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Last year, Artist Jane Richlovsky presented a TEDx talk about how her studio eviction by Washington State’s Department of Transportation inspired her to rewrite the Artist vs. Gentrification story in two ways: In her paintings, she unpacked the mid-century version of the American Dream; and in her life she transformed the stereotypical image of the “starving artist in the garret “into the artist as business person who shares in the wealth they create.

Richlovsky and three other partners founded the company Good Arts LLC which recently purchased the historic Scheuerman Building in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. The renovated space will provide affordable artist studios, a commercial gallery and a retail craft store. Eventually, the new owners plan to restore the basement to its historic role as a performance space from 1972-1982, and as a jazz club during the 1940s.

“We believe that economic development should include the creative class as its beneficiary as well as its catalyst. To that end, we also foster connections between, and promote the interdependent prosperity of, artists and other neighborhood businesses and institutions. “

“WHEN ARTISTS GET TOGETHER THEY TALK ABOUT REAL ESTATE,” A TEDX PRESENTATION by ARTIST JANE RICHLOVSKY

As cities across the nation contend with the displacement of culture by rising real estate prices, the conversation seems to be stuck on the idea of artists as hapless victims in this struggle. Artist Jane Richlovsky’s eviction from her studio by the Department of Transportation in Seattle inspired her to rewrite the Artist vs. Gentrification story. In her paintings, she unpacks the mid-century version of the American Dream. In her life she transforms the stereotypical starving artist in the garret into the artist as business person who shares in the wealth they create.Visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81xF4ouHkRk

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
For additional information about Jane visit: http://www.janerichlovsky.com

VIDEO EXPLORES INCOMPREHENSIBLE LANGUAGE USED IN THE ART WORLD

Artspeak, a video by artist Bill Claps, “explores the often incomprehensible language used by many curators, writers, critics, and other art insiders, which has alienated much of of the art-viewing public.“

The New York artist captures people’s thoughts and feelings about contemporary art, and includes footage shot in the streets, galleries and art fairs of New York, and in several countries in Europe.

The film was recently screened at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. Eventually it will be available to view online. In the meantime see the trailer:
http://www.billclaps.net/new-page-1/

ARTISTS PROVIDE THOUSANDS OF NONARTISTS WITH JOBS!

“Artists, by the fact they are artists, have power. Artists provide thousands of nonartists with jobs! Examples of nonartists who depend on artists for jobs include art dealers, gallery staffs, curators, museum staffs, arts administrators; grants administrators; critics and journalists; corporate art consultants and advisors; federal, state, and municipal employees, framers; accountants; lawyers; framers; printers; and art suppliers.

“Yet more nonartists than artists make a living from art, and nonartists make more money from art than artists! This inequity exists, as do many others, because artists, the “employees,” individually and collectively have not yet recognized their power.” From How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist ©Caroll Michels 2015.