Past Project 2014

A collection of essays in which artists express their views on the art world with complete freedom.


In 2014, Artquest published Pamphlets, a collection of anonymous essays penned by artists, curators, educators and other arts professionals about the state of the art world as they see it. With an open brief to write one essay about something close to their own practice, and another about the wider structure of the art world, Pamphlets provides a snapshot of opinion – sometimes incendiary, always forthright – from those working at the coal face.

Inspired by the polemic 17th century political pamphlets of the British Civil War, Pamphlets is an opportunity to find out what artists think about the context they work in, and aims to encourage debate.

Pamphlets was originally circulated in an edition of 500 copies; now these have sold out, we publish the articles online.

As well as an introduction and afterword, which contextualise and describe the project, the articles are:

  1. Before we start to engage, maybe we should first include – an art tutor considers how a Western European hegemony of art theory threatens to exclude non-middle-class students, and those from other countries
  2. A Chasm of Carelessness – some thoughts on socially engaged practice and the toll it can take on artists
  3. Ignore this at your peril – a plea for gallery educators to be heard in art institutions
  4. The Funding Party – a former gallery director muses on Arts Council England funding programmes
  5. Dis-United Kingdom – a wide view of the UK financial context for artists
  6. Pay them the Money – thoughts on a new type of arts funding system, with artists at its heart
  7. It’s popular, but what’s the value? – the relationship between artists, popularity and opportunities
  8. Where have all the massive cocks gone? – thoughts on the lack of political currency within visual arts practice
  9. Shut up and sell out – a call for artists to understand the implications of pay for their work
  10. War, War and more – the links between the arts and military-industrial complex