The New Economy of Art: debates

Past Project 2011 2012

A series of open discussions throughout 2011-12 focussing on economic developments and opportunities in the cultural sector.

A series of open discussions throughout 2011-12 that focus on the economic developments and opportunities in the cultural sector that impact on artists, from the perspective of artists. It will share knowledge and provoke action to enable artists to influence the future ecologies and economies in which they operate.

Instituted by Artists

Wednesday 13 June 2012, 6.30-8pm

Artists have formed and used organisational structures in their practices for years – one of the earliest perhaps being Barbara Steveni’s Artist Placement Group, founded in 1966, with the tradition continuing to the present in LuckyPDF.  This debate explored the motivations and projects artists use to mimic and disrupt these traditional structures for their own ends, be they artistic, practical or financial.  If organisations are more likely to receive funding and support than individuals, should artists be forming the organisations they need for their practice, and how much does this get in the way (or support) making work?

Many artist projects and collaborations not only question the ability of established organisations to provide the systems they require; they seek to prototype alternatives to take power back from the perceived gatekeepers of the art world.  Instituted by artists explores the suitability of contemporary institutions to contemporary practice, and imagined some of the new systems that could emerge.

Artist Barbara Steveni conceived and co-founded the Artist Placement Group in 1966. The concept ‘Artist Placement’ aimed to expand the reach of art and artists into commercial/industrial concerns, government agencies and organisations of all kinds, at all levels and on a basis equivalent to any other engaged specialist.

Alistair Gentry is an artist and writer whose work includes video, animation, installation, photography, text and performance. Much of this work involves oratory and storytelling and he regularly collaborates with artists, writers, designers, actors, architects and scientists both nationally and internationally.  His Market Project created professional and economic research by artists from the East of England.

James Early and John Hill are one half of LuckyPDF with Ollie Hogan and Yuri Pattison. Working collaboratively with an expanding network of cultural producers and sometimes reality TV celebrities, LuckyPDF aim to re-negotiate the conditions for the production of art and the spaces that art can exist in.

Elinor Morgan has worked as the Artists & Programmes Curator at Wysing Arts Centre since June 2011, where she has curated residency programmes, events and exhibitions. She joined Wysing as Operations Director in July 2010. From July 2010 to January 2012 she also worked as the Turning Point Coordinator for the Eastern region, supporting the delivery of the first phase of the Eastern Pavilions project. Before this she was Chair of OUTPOST, an artist-led gallery in Norwich which supports a large community of artists via a membership scheme and a programme of eleven exhibitions per year, punctuated regularly by events. During her time on the Committee she worked with a range of artists and developed various off-site projects. In February 2010 she and the committee opened OUTPOST Studios, low-cost studios for 80 artists. Elinor studied History of Art, Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of East Anglia.

Market Matters

Wednesday 14 March, 6.30pm-8pm

Read the transcript

Market Matters explored the complex and overlapping motivations behind various kinds of ‘art market’ from commercial galleries, private dealers and auction houses to art fairs, online selling and gift economies. The debate provoked thinking about how artistic practice intersects with and creates its own economies.

Speakers Louisa Buck, Kate MacGarry and Matt Roberts set the scene before an open dialogue with the audience.

Louisa Buck is a writer and broadcaster on contemporary art. She is the London contemporary art columnist for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular reviewer on BBC radio and TV. Her latest book A Place for Art: the Contemporary Art Commissioner’s Handbook will be published by Thames & Hudson later this year.

Kate MacGarry is founder and director of a contemporary art gallery in Shoreditch, east London. Established in 2002, the gallery represents international artists including Goshka Macuga, Dr Lakra, Francis Upritchard and Marcus Coates. Before opening the gallery Kate worked on various projects in the visual arts for eight years, most recently as a curator for a private collection, and as a co-ordinator on projects with artists in public spaces.

Matt Roberts is a curator, lecturer and visual arts correspondent. He is also founder of Matt Roberts Arts – a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing practical career advice to artists. Matt has exhibited over 500 artists at galleries across the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Israel and also helped to establish the Airspace gallery in Stoke-on-Trent.

What are we worth? Artists and the Economic Crisis

Tuesday 18 October, 6.30pm – 8pm

Read the transcript.

What are we worth? considered how artists can create income in support of their practice in a period of dramatic economic, social and technological change. It encouraged discussion and debate about how artists harness their cultural assets and intellectual property – both tangible and intangible – to support their practice financially.

Speakers John Kieffer, Zineb Sedira and Bob and Roberta Smith set the scene before an open dialogue with the audience.

John Kieffer has over 25 years’ experience in UK and international cultural policy, arts funding, creative programming, arts management, creative industries development, and the music industry. In 2009 he edited After The Crunch with John Holden, John Newbigin and Shelagh Wright and is working with the same team on a new book called Creativity Money Love: Learning for the 21st Century to be published in November.

Zineb Sedira is an artist whose practice encompasses photography, installation and video. She works between Algiers, London and Paris. Zineb has exhibited widely from the Venice Biennale to the Pompidou Centre and the Folkestone Triennial and solo shows in Copenhagen, Toronto, Algiers, Paris and London.

Bob and Roberta Smith‘s work often takes the shape of hobbies; music, cooking or DIY which is then combined with a subversive humour. Past shows have involved performances, a large installation made with personalised signs on scrap materials and wall based paintings on wooden panels. His DIY approach appropriates the languages of folk, punk and the alternative protest movements to personalise political sloganeering.

The New Economy of Art is a collaboration between Artquest, the Contemporary Art Society and DACS.