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Assembly for Art Workers and Opening in Berlin

September 2, 2014

poster_berlin_1_w

 

 

Art Workers’ Assembly in Berlin

As neoliberalism holds a tight grips over our societies, its violent symptoms have become normalized for all of us. While exploitation and censorship are commonplace, the ingenuity and creative abilities of art workers are hijacked by cultural managers and institutions. In this context, the reassessment of the situation of precarious art/workers, already undertaken by international groups of art workers, continues to be a pressing issue. How can we further challenge ourselves to re-imagine fairer relationships to institutions, organizations, networks and economies involved in the production and consumption of art and culture? What joint actions are possible in our collective search for cultural spaces and educational platforms beyond the logic of neoliberal economy? What new ways of unionizing precarious labor exist and could they be adapted to cultural workers?

Presentations by members of ArtLeaks (Corina Apostol, Vladan Jeremic, Federico Geller), AG Arbeit (Haben und Brauchen), Arts & Economics Group (Tanja Ostojic, Baruch Gottlieb)

Free and open to anyone who is interested.

 

Schedule

 

15.00- 16.45 – Precarity / Art / Labour presentations and discussion

 

16.45-17.15  – Art Bonds Auction hosted by the Arts&Economics Group

 

17.15-18.45  – Art Workers Organizations / On Unionizing presentations and discussion

 

18.45- 19.00 – Break

 

19.00 – 20.00 – Assembly discussions

 

According to its previous working process AG Arbeit of Haben und Brauchen aims to contribute methods of questioning our own working conditions as artists and cultural workers whose work often takes place in self-organized contexts. How can we politicize such voluntary working relations as AG Arbeit, and in seemingly activist contexts ? What difficulties do we encounter by addressing these relations ? Does a collectively developed practice of politicizing work ethics enable us to pinpoint and face exploitative situations when working with or for institutions?

The Art & Economics Group, established in Berlin in 2007 by Tanja Ostojic, David Rych and Dmytri Kleiner, investigates the intersection of art and political economy. Economics Quarterly Forums are performative events incorporating rituals relating to art and political economy. Topics include political economy as a theme in art, the economics of art production and economic activity as an action based art practice.

ArtLeaks is a collective platform initiated by an international group of artists, curators, art historians and intellectuals in response to the abuse of their professional integrity and the open infraction of their labor rights. We initiate and provide the community with online tools available on http://art-leaks.org/, which are open for use by anyone. ArtLeaks organizes workshops, seminars, assemblies and produces an annual publication dedicated to art workers’ struggles from around the world.

Berlin, Friday, September 12th, 3-8 PM, Flutgraben

Address:

Am Flutgraben 3

12435 Berlin

www.flutgraben.org

 

Then on Sunday, September 14th, 7 PM ArtLeaks members will make a presentation and a didactic drawing at the opening of “Artist Fair,” an exhibition focused on the labor conditions of young artists working in Berlin at Galerie Im Turm.

Address:

Frankfurter Tor 1

10243 Berlin

http://www.kulturamt-friedrichshain-kreuzberg.de/galerie-im-turm

 

poster_berlin_2_w

 

 

Posters by Federico Geller with Vladan Jeremić. 

Special thanks to Naomi Hennig.

São Paulo Bienal Artists Disassociate from Israeli Funds

September 1, 2014

We, the majority of artists and participants of the 31st São Paulo Bienal who have opposed any association of our work with Israeli State funding, today had our appeal heard by the Fundação Bienal São Paulo.

Just one week ago we were confronted by the fact that the Israeli state is contributing to the funding of the exhibition as a whole, which for a majority of us is unacceptable. Following collective negotiations the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo has committed to clearly disassociate Israeli funding from the general funding of the exhibition. The logo of the Israeli Consulate, which was presented as a general sponsor of the event, will now only be related to those Israeli artists who received that specific financial support. This transparency will be applied to all state funding for artists in the Bienal.

We the artists and participants of the 31st São Paulo Bienal refuse to support the normalization of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian people. We believe Israeli state cultural funding directly contributes to maintaining, defending and whitewashing their violation of international law and human rights.

The artists in this event have shown that they have agency in demanding transparency concerning the sponsorship of cultural events and they have raised the fundamental issue of how funding can compromise and undermine their work.

The struggle for self-determination of the Palestinian people is reflected in the work of many artists and participants in this Bienal that are involved with human rights and people’s struggles worldwide including Brazil. The oppression of one concerns that of all.

 

//PT

 

ARTISTAS DA BIENAL DE SÃO PAULO SE DISSOCIAM DO FINANCIAMENTO DE ISRAEL

Nós, a maioria dos artistas e participantes da 31ª Bienal de São Paulo, que nos opusemos a qualquer associação de nossos trabalhos com o financiamento do Estado de Israel, tivemos, hoje, nosso apelo ouvido pela Fundação Bienal de São Paulo.

Há uma semana fomos confrontados com o fato de que o Estado de Israel figura como um dos financiadores da exposição como um todo, o que, para a maioria de nós, é inaceitável. Após negociações coletivas, a Fundação Bienal de São Paulo se comprometeu a desassociar claramente o financiamento israelense do financiamento total da exposição. O logo do Consulado de Israel, que havia sido apresentado como patrocinador master do evento, agora será relacionado aos artistas israelenses que receberam aquele apoio financeiro específico. Essa transparência será aplicada a todos os financiamentos nacionais para artistas na Bienal.

Nós, artistas e participantes da 31ª Bienal São Paulo, recusamos apoiar a normalização das ocupações conduzidas continuamente por Israel na Palestina. Acreditamos que o apoio cultural do Estado de Israel contribui diretamente para manter, defender e limpar suas violações de leis internacionais e direitos humanos.

Os artistas deste evento não apenas mostraram que têm organização ao demandar transparência referente ao financiamento de eventos culturais, mas também levantaram a questão fundamental de como o financiamento pode comprometer e minar a razão de existência de seus trabalhos.

A luta por autodeterminação do povo Palestino se reflete nos trabalhos de muitos artistas e participantes da Bienal, envolvidos com direitos humanos e lutas populares em escala global.

A opressão de um é a opressão de todos.

 

 

Read also:

São Paulo Biennale Curators Respond to Artists’ Demands to Refuse Israeli State Funding

São Paulo Biennale Artists Urge Organizers to Refuse Israeli State Funding

São Paulo Biennale Curators Respond to Artists’ Demands to Refuse Israeli State Funding

August 30, 2014

We, the curators of the 31st Bienal de São Paulo, support the artists and understand their position.

We believe that the statement and demand by the artists should also be a trigger to think about the funding sources of major cultural events. In the 31st Bienal, much of the work seeks to show that struggles for justice in Brazil, Latin America and elsewhere in the world are connected. The idea of living in transformational times is fundamental to this Bienal, times when old patterns of behaviour are exhausted and long-held beliefs are questioned. This transformation also affects the relationship between curators and organisers of major cultural events such as this Bienal. At the outset, we accepted the traditional agreement in which curators have artistic freedom and the Foundation has responsibility for the financial and administrative affairs. The Bienal de São Paulo Foundation has very correctly kept to this agreement throughout. In our turn, we assisted in international fundraising.

However, as a consequence of this situation, alongside other incidents at similar events worldwide, it is clear that the sources of cultural funding have an increasingly dramatic impact on the supposedly ‘independent’ curatorial and artistic narrative of an event. The funding, whether state, corporate or private, fundamentally shapes the way the public receives the work of artists and curators.

While this is a wider issue than the 31st Bienal de São Paulo, we ask that the Foundation revise their current rules of sponsorship and ensure that artists and curators agree to any support that is forthcoming for their work and that may have an impact on its content and reception.

Galit Eilat

Nuria Enguita Mayo

Charles Esche

Pablo Lafuente

Luiza Proença

Oren Sagiv

Benjamin Seroussi

 

Read the artists’ initial letter here.

 

//PT

 

Nós, os curadores da 31 Bienal de São Paulo, apoiamos os artistas e entendemos sua posição.

Acreditamos que a declaração e a demanda dos artistas deve ser também um gatilho para pensar sobre fontes de financiamento de grandes eventos culturais. Na 31 Bienal, muitos trabalhos buscam mostrar a luta por Justiça no Brasil, na América Latina e em outros lugares do mundo. A ideia de viver numa era de transformações é fundamental para essa Bienal, tempos em que antigos padrões e comportamentos estão esgotados e crenças arraigadas são questionadas. Essas transformações também afetam a relação entre curadores e organizadores de grandes eventos culturais como essa Bienal. No início, aceitamos o tradicional acordo no qual curadores têm liberdade artística e a Fundação é responsável por assuntos financeiros e administrativos. A Fundação Bienal, com muita correção, manteve esse acordo. De nossa parte, ajudamos no financiamento internacional.

No entanto, em consequência dessa situação, junto com outros incidentes e similares eventos, está claro que fontes de financiamento cultural têm um impacto dramático nas suposta “independência” das curadorias e narrativas artísticas de um evento. O financiamento, seja ele estatal, corporativo ou privado, molda de maneira fundamental a forma com que o público recebe o trabalho de artistas e curadores.

Por ser esse ser um tema maior do que a 31 Bienal, pedimos à Fundação que revise suas regras atuais de patrocínio e se certifique de que artistas e curadores concordem com qualquer apoio para seu trabalho que possa ter um impacto em seu conteúdo e recepção.

Galit Eilat

Nuria Enguita Mayo

Charles Esche

Pablo Lafuente

Luiza Proença

Oren Sagiv

Benjamin Seroussi

São Paulo Biennale Artists Urge Organizers to Refuse Israeli State Funding

August 29, 2014

Open letter to the Fundacão Bienal São Paulo

We, the undersigned artists participating in the 31st Bienal have been suddenly confronted, just as the show is about to open, with the fact that the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo has accepted money from the Israeli state and that the Israeli Consulate logo appears in the Bienal pavilion and on its publications and website.

At a time in which the people of Gaza return to the rubble of their homes, destroyed by the Israeli military we do not feel it is acceptable to receive Israeli cultural sponsorship. In accepting this funding our artistic work displayed in the exhibition is undermined and implicitly used for whitewashing Israel’s on going aggressions and violation of international law and human rights. We reject Israel’s attempt to normalise itself within the context of a major international cultural event in Brazil.

With this statement, we appeal to the Fundação Bienal to refuse this funding and to take action on this matter before the opening of the exhibition.

1. Agnieszka Piksa

2. Alejandra Riera

3. Ana Lira

4. Andreas Maria Fohr

5. Asier Mendizabal

6. Chto Delat collective: Dmitry Vilensky, Tsaplya Olga Egrova, Nikolay Oleynikov

7. Danica Dakic

8. Débora Maria da Silva and Movimento Mães de Maio

9. Erick Beltran

10. Etcetera… / Federico Zukerfeld/Loreto Garin Guzman

11. Farid Rakun

12. Francisco Casas y Pedro Lemebel (Yeguas del Apocalipsis)

13. Gabriel Mascaro

14. Graziela Kusch

15. Grupo Contrafilé

16. Gulsun Karamustafa

17. Halil Altindere

18. Heidi Abderhalden

19. Imogen Stidworthy

20. Ines Doujak

21. Jakob Jakobsen

22. John Barker

23. Jonas Staal

24. Lia Perjovschi and Dan Perjovschi

25. Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol

26. Lilian L’Abbate Kelian

27. Loreto Garin

28. Luis Ernesto Díaz

29. Mapa Teatro-Laboratorio de Artistas

30. María Berríos

31. Maria Galindo & Esther Argollo, Mujeres Creando

32. Mark lewis

33. Marta Neves

34. Michael Kessus Gedalyovich

35. Miguel A. López

36. Nilbar Güres

37. Otobong Nkanga

38. Pedro G. Romero Archivo F.X.

39. Prabhakar Pachpute

40. Rolf Abderhalden

41. Romy  Pocztaruk

42. Ruanne Abou-Rahme Basel Abbas

43. Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti

44. Santiago Sepúlveda

45. Sergio Zevallos

46. Sheela Gowda

47. Tamar Guimarães e Kasper Akhøj

48. Thiago Martins de Melo

49. Tiago Borges

50. Tony Chakar

51. Voluspa Jarpa

52. Walid Raad

53. Ximena Vargas

54. Yael Bartana

55. Yonamine

 

 

31st São Paulo Biennial international sponsors listed on the official website

31st São Paulo Biennial international sponsors listed on the official website

 

The Bienal de São Paulo was initiated in 1951 and is the second oldest art biennial in the world after the Venice Biennial, which was set up 1895 and served as its role model. The 31st Bienal de São Paulo is curated by Charles Esche, Galit Eilat, Nuria Enguita Mayo, Pablo Lafuente and Oren Sagiv. More information here.

List of participating artists and projects here.

An international call to protect the Teatro Valle Bene Comune (Rome, Italy)

August 9, 2014

 

via Teatro Valle Occupato

Teatro Valle Occupato Assembly

Teatro Valle Occupato Assembly

 

Since June 14th, 2011, a community of artists and citizens has transformed Teatro Valle, the oldest and most prestigious theatre in Rome, then at high risk of privatization, into the “Teatro Valle Occupato”, one of the most advanced experiments merging political struggle and performing arts in the current world. A trust-like legal entity, the “Fondazione Teatro Valle Bene Comune” was created in the interest of future generations, with a membership of almost 6.000 people by a genuinely new process of cooperation between some well-known jurists and the Assembly of artists and citizens. While a notary has recognized the Foundation, the Prefect of Rome has denied its moral personality on the assumption that possession was not a sufficient title on the Valle premises.

Nevertheless, in three years the occupation, though formally never authorized, has succeeded in becoming a new institution of the commons, studied by scholars worldwide and the object of many publications. Because no authority in Rome has ever asked the occupants to leave and the municipality has paid the energy bill (roughly 90.000 Euros per year), it would be difficult to deny that the occupation was largely tolerated (even by the previous post-fascist mayor). Certainly the occupants have taken very good care of the ancient Theater, including paying for small renovations, and have generated three years of exceptionally interesting shows, performances, meeting, educational programs that the population could attend on the basis of a donation system according to the possibilities of each one. The Valle experience has also inspired similar actions to protect theaters and public spaces throughout Italy; it is promoting a nation-wide experiment of codification of commons institutions involving some twenty of the leading academic lawyers in Italy; it has produced its own shows performed Europe-wide and has attracted to the Valle some of the best-known artists and intellectuals in Europe.

The European Cultural Foundation, among others has granted the prestigious Princess Margriet Award 2014 to the Teatro Valle and the ZKM of Karlsruhe has devoted to that experience a stand in a recent major International exhibition on social movements worldwide.

After the European Elections last May, possibly as a consequence of an ill-conceived legalistic stance by the new Government, early negotiations to settle the dispute concerning the title to the Theater have been suddenly terminated as the Assessor of Rome responsible for culture in Rome has been removed and not replaced. As a reply to the Foundation request to resume negotiations, the new major of Rome, a member of the ruling Democratic Party and a well-known academic doctor, has released two days ago a statement asking the occupants to leave, threatening police intervention and proposing a public auction to privatize the management of the space.

A meeting between the Foundation, the new Head of Culture Giovanna Marinelli, president of the Cultural Commission of the City and representatives of the Teatro di Roma followed. Requests for a public and transparent dialogue path, which is a guarantee for the 5600 members, with the aim of managing the delicate phase of transition towards a model of participated theater, was offset by the conditio sine qua nonfor the immediate release of the theatre.

This cannot happen! The city of Rome, as a cultural center of the world deserves a better solution to the Valle issue. We strongly plea the Italian political authorities to look for a method which facilitates rather than repressing institutional and cultural experiments to run the commons.

We have very little time to save this experience, dozens of intellectuals from all over the world, from David Harvey to Stefano Rodotà, from Slavoj Zizek to Étienne Balibar, from Michael Hardt to Salvatore Settis to Ugo Mattei to representatives of prestigious European Museums, performing and contemporary arts centres, Foundations and cultural institutions are mobilizing to defend this experience with this international call.But now only a mobilization of citizens and institutions can save this cultural and political symbol!

The solutions to transform this innovative Foundation into a fully legal, recognized and working reality are there. It would suffice that the institutions sit together with citizens, artists, workers entertainment workers to experience a new participated way of managing public goods, providing spaces of freedom and self-determination.

To do this we will deliver directly to the Mayor of Rome Marino and the head of the culture department Marinelli thousands of signatures of Italian and European citizens, artists and intellectuals. ALL TOGETHER WE CAN CONVINCE THEM, SIGN NOW AND SHARE WITH EVERYONE!

(if you represent a cultural institution, an arts or research center, a foundation, an arts collective, a museum, etc. please send us your adhesion to the following e-mail address as well, specifying the organization / institution:internationalcall.valle@gmail.com)

 

Sign the petition here.

(An)Other Art World(s)? Imagination Beyond Fiction// An ArtLeaks Research Room at Divus London

July 30, 2014

What are the problems and challenges posed by the contemporary art system? What does it mean to be an agent of change in the art world today? How do we move beyond exposure and breaking the silence towards sustainable forms of engagement? What are the potentials of a new comparative institutional critique, written by cultural workers, and which forms could it take?

Today, the production of culture is an expanding sphere of activity: on the one hand, it is the space where new meanings and forms of subjectivity are created and where the most radical forms of activity are tested – yet at the same time it is precisely at this juncture where we encounter some of the most glaring forms of exploitation and control, where the gain of profit seems unrestricted and speculation is embedded in the very logic of production. At the same time, cultural processes cannot be reduced simply to production schemes. The system of production and reproduction of hierarchies and values inevitably comes into conflict with the very nature of free creative acts. Culture must retain its amateurish, joyful approach, to freely share its values with society – it should refuse to conform directly to the vulgar logic of sale and speculation.

We invite you to imagine a different system of art and culture, which would not only guarantee decent working conditions to the majority of its participants, but also stimulate the creation of an emancipatory cultural sphere. What are the conditions and possibilities of alternative art worlds? How can we engage and use our imagination, avoiding, at the same time, the traps of utopian thinking?

These are some of the questions at the center of the new issue of the ArtLeaks Gazette, entitled “(An)Other Art World(s)? Imagination Beyond Fiction.” The gazette will be presented in a site-specific research room at Divus London realized by Corina Apostol. The research room can be accessed starting with Friday, July 25th and until August 22nd. Users are also welcome to bring their own relevant materials.

For more information and directions please go here.

 

Free and open to the public.

 

This research exhibition includes a selection of visual works from the ArtLeaks Gazette No. 2 by: The Assembly for Culture Ukraine, Daniel Blochwitz, OFSW (Citizen Forum for Contemporary Arts), Noah Fischer /Occupy Museums, Iulia Toma, SOS (The Self-Organized Seminar),

with a collective timeline of Art Workers’ Struggles and Organization designed by Corina Apostol, based on materials selected from the Art Workers’ Pride Archive and an ArtLeaks posters’ timeline including designs by Eduard Constantin,Vladan Jeremić and Nikolay Oleynikov. Visitors are also welcome to browse through a selection of ArtLeaks cases from our Archive and our recent publications: The ArtLeaks Zine, The ArtLeaks Gazette No.1 & No.2.

Special thanks to Ivan Mecl / Divus.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photo-documentation from the opening evening.

 

The ArtLeaks Gazette is an activist publication produced by core members of ArtLeaks, an organization founded in 2011 as an international platform for cultural workers where instances of abuse, corruption and exploitation are exposed and submitted to public inquiry. Through our gazette, we stress the urgent need to seriously transform these workers’ relationships with the institutions, networks and economies involved in the production,reproduction and consumption of art and culture. We pursue these goals through developing a new approach to the tradition of institutional critique and through fostering new forms of artistic production that might challenge the dominant discourses of criticality and social engagement that tame and contain creative forces. 

 

Invisible Labor Inquiry (San Francisco, USA)

July 18, 2014

Dear YBCA [Yerba Buena Center for the Arts],

 

Please accept my deep congratulations for your inclusion of Bay Area Art Workers Alliance in Bay Area Now. I’m writing in support of B.A.A.W.A., whose project “Invisible Labor” has the potential to act as the most provocative contemporary use of a Bay Area museum to celebrate and reveal the work that maintains it. As you know, B.A.A.W.A. draws support from a group of 200 people, and fifty of those art workers are currently and anonymously installing works in the museum. The significance of the title is not to be underestimated– not only are preparators necessarily unseen by common museum viewers and administration, they are invisible to one and (an)other. This is due to the type of labor required of a prepator’s work—many B.A.A.W.A. workers have little institutional security, are on-call, temporary, independent contractors, freelancers and project-based workers, working odd hours, at night, and competing for jobs. To clarify, all of these people are using their unpaid hours to install work as a way to demonstrate solidarity with their trade and their community for the first time.

In the process of administering this project, it is possible that the meaning of “Invisible Labor” slipped from YBCA’s attention—and with this letter I hoped to highlight what I find to be at the core of the work. This exhibit is a decoy—it looks like a ‘art installation’, but the real work being accomplished by the installation is the revealing of an unseen network of people (to each other and to the public) who make the museum function. The work in the show is most powerful when it is seen as a byproduct of the alliance of people who care for the museums and institutions of the Bay Area. The real exhibit is of a community of alienated precarious workers who see themselves and each other as a part of a mutual aid network that offers infinite care and visibility. This community is the beautiful product of the “Invisible Labor”, and it must be revealed as such, for free, at the opening of Bay Area Now this Friday.

It has been stated by YBCA in its communication with B.A.A.W.A. that only 25 out of 200 art workers who are a part of this work will be invited to attend the opening of Bay Area Now for free this Friday. This decision has been described to us a fiscal necessity for YBCA, and as such, 175 of our members will be asked to pay $15 to attend the opening night of their own project. This is a contradictory decision that will cost the museum significant support by B.A.A.W.A. members, many of whom will not be able or willing to pay to see their labor. At the rate of $15 per B.A.A.W.A. member, YBCA stands to earn $2625 from the sale of tickets to the 175 members not comped for Friday’s event. That is $125 more than YBCA spent on the budget for this exhibit. While you give yourself the potential to break even on costs, you also risk the total failure of your commission to B.A.A.W.A. : the project of revealing the people behind the “Invisible Labor” will remain invisible—to you, to the visitors, and most importantly to each other. In this way, you stand to completely miss the point of the work that you commissioned, and to trap the exhibition in a cycle of fiscally responsible irony.

I am also aware of your labor, and your beautiful attempt to make impossible moments happen within the confines of a huge institution.  With this awareness, I would like to offer you a B.A.A.W.A. membership card, which will allow you free admittance to any and all museums and institutions that are a part of the infinite network of care and visibility.

 

Thanks for your time and attention,

Cassie Thornton

The Feminist Economics Department (the FED)

B.A.A.W.A.

___________________________________________________________________________

Dear Cassie,

 

Thank you so much for contacting us with your well articulated and thought provoking email. We certainly agree that the economic structure of labor and the work force in the United States is changing with more people working as independent contractors on a project basis. We also agree that the B.A.A.W.A. “Invisible Labor” exhibition, one of 15 exhibitions presented in Bay Area Now 7, does a wonderful job at highlighting important aspects of these issues.

We are thrilled to be presenting the work of artists selected by curators from 15 Bay Area visual arts partners. We are committed to valuing each partnership equally.

I will take the opportunity here to respond to the segment of your email specifically referencing YBCA’s policy on complimentary tickets for our opening night party. The arrangement for all of our partners is articulated in the signed contract:

“Complimentary tickets:

ii. YBCA will provide ORGANIZATION 25 complimentary tickets for the opening night party on July 18, 2014. These tickets are to be used in any way that ORGANIZATION sees fit, including invitations for the artists and their guests.”

In addition an email was sent to the partner organizations articulating how the groups can obtain their complimentary tickets.

YBCA deeply believes that partnerships are central to its success. We worked across department to develop an equitable approach for all of our partners for the opening night reception that we believe is both generous and fair to every participating organization regardless of their range in size and membership. Our strategy represents our enormous respect for the artists, curators, and the entire Bay Area arts community. In addition to providing 25 complimentary tickets for the opening night party, each organization is also provided 50 complimentary tickets for their own public program, and an 25 additional complimentary tickets to be used at their discretion throughout the exhibition. That is a total of 1500 complimentary tickets!

We also always welcome dialogue and exchange about YBCA, the economy, labor and the arts, and any other important topic of interest to the Bay Area community.  We welcome your thoughts about how we can deepen our partnership in order to have these conversations.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us and for the important work you and B.A.A.W.A. are doing. We look forward to seeing you at the opening night reception and hope you will join us for some of our many public programs. YBCA is free to the public every firstTuesday of the month and from 4-8 pm on every third Thursday of the month.

 

Sincerely,

Betti-Sue Hertz

Director of Visual Arts

 

___________________________________________________________________________

Dear Betti-Sue,

Thank you for the thoughtful and detailed reply. It means a great deal to me that you care enough to write.

My specific concern and request is that YBCA offer complimentary passes to the preparators in the exhibition, if not all preparators. Perhaps a portion of the complimentary passes not used by other organizations could be reallocated to them and left at the door? My request is based on the principle of letting something that is RIGHT happen over pre-determined RULES: because we are working within an art context. My participation in any art comes out of a belief that art can transcend common limitations in order to do something that is really really good. This is why I am a paying member of YBCA, whose core values include risk, innovation, inclusion, and adaptation in pursuit of radical community.

I understand that you mean to create a sense of equity between the groups in the show. However, as an art institution, it seems like there is an opportunity for meaning-making to prevail over blanket rule-making. After years of being on the artist’s side of the institution, I believe in the necessary softness of contracts. I also think that the other groups, if given the chance, would choose to support BAAWA’s initiative by getting preparators in for free (especially since it was the preparators at YBCA who allowed this show to take place). 

I was (and am now more so, thanks to your email) aware of the contract that offers 25 tickets to the opening exhibition. However, it is clear to me that the nature of the exhibit requires completely free entry at least for the exhibiting preparators, as a way to celebrate the network of solidarity that is being launched with Bay Area Now.

Please do consider the opportunity to let the work you have commissioned do the work it has the potential to do. I believe in the power of art to overcome a sense of what is impossible, and right now we are so close to letting something that is RIGHT happen in spite of the RULES. We live in a world of regulation, this is the perfect moment to let art in to make what is truly ‘equitable’ (aka just), possible. I will be in attendance on Friday if I don’t give my free tickets (from my membership at YBCA) to the preparators who worked on the show.

Thank you again for your considered response, I know this is an extremely busy time for you.

All the best!

Cassie

Bay Area Art Workers Alliance is a support network of laborers involved in the installation and fabrication of exhibitions within art institutions. BAAWA fosters a mutually supportive relationship between these art workers and their contractors, by facilitating open dialogue, as well as providing an educational resource regarding best practices for the installation, collection, transportation, storage and archiving of artworks.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts was founded in 1993 out of an expressed need for an accessible, high-profile San Francisco venue devoted to contemporary visual art, performance, and film/video representing diverse cultural and artistic perspectives. Distinguished by its support for contemporary artists from around the world, YBCA is also recognized for the important role the organization plays in the San Francisco Bay Area arts ecology and in the community at large.

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