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Statement Condemning the Alarming Silencing of Sexual Harassment Survivors (New Delhi, India)

October 4, 2019

Indian artist Subodh Gupta filed a civil defamation suit on 18 September 2019 against the Instagram handle @herdsceneand for allegedly “publishing false, malicious and defamatory content”. Mr. Gupta is seeking ‘token’ damages of Rs. 5 crore (Rs. 50 million). The Delhi High Court on 30 September 2019 directed that the posts referring to Mr. Gupta on @herdsceneand be taken down. Additionally, the Court directed Google to take down from its search results a list of URLs that report on the sexual harassment allegations against Subodh Gupta, and directed Instagram to provide details of the “person/entity” running the Instagram handle to the Court in a sealed cover.

Given the complex personal and professional terrains that have to be navigated in the arts and cultural sector, those who speak out against sexual harassment choose to remain anonymous due to public stigma, intimidation, fear of losing work and other forms of structural violence.

@herdsceneand is an important platform that gives voice to survivors whose accounts of sexual harassment and abuse of power have been systematically silenced in the past. The platform creates an environment of collectivity and solidarity in an otherwise hostile context. The urgent attention the platform has brought to the prevalence and normalisation of sexual harassment and abuse of power has put pressure on art institutions to revisit and strengthen their policies and mechanisms to work towards safer spaces and more equitable work environments. These are beginnings for a lot of hard work that needs to be done

yet.

This defamation suit against @herdsceneand is an outright move to silence the survivors and gag the platform that gave them a voice while protecting their identities. This is exactly what survivors have feared when choosing anonymity. This is an attempt to dissuade others from sharing further experiences of harassment and violence, and to perpetuate a culture of fear.

The survivors who have shared their painful accounts with great courage MUST be protected. Intimidation and attempts to discredit and silence their voices MUST be strongly condemned.

We ask you to condemn this defamation suit and show solidarity towards the survivors by:

– sharing news and other coverage of this case widely on social media to register protest against this attempt to silence
– archiving / documenting the posts that have been ordered to be removed by Instagram as a way to keep a record of the survivors statements

– writing to us with any information, advice, ideas for support relating to this case and/or other cases of sexual harassment. Please write to insolidaritywith.survivors@gmail.com

In solidarity,

1. Aarthi Parthasarthy/ Kadak Collective
2. Akansha Rastogi, New Delhi
3. Akhila Krishnan and Mira Malhotra, Kadak Collective, London/ Mumbai
4. Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Providence/ Bangalore
5. Anushka Rajendran, New Delhi
6. Diwas Raja Kc, Kathmandu
7. Fiza Khatri, Karachi
8. Gopika Bashi, Bangalore
9. Jaishri Abichandani, New York
10. Laxmi Murthy, Bangalore
11. Maraa – A Media and Arts Collective, Bangalore
12. Mila Samdub, New Delhi
13. Munem Wasif, Dhaka
14. Naeem Mohaiemen, Dhaka
15. Natasha Malik, Islamabad
16. NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati, Kathmandu
17. Neha Dixit, New Delhi
18. Nishant Shah, Arnhem
19. Padmini Ray Murray, Bangalore
20. Pallavi Paul, New Delhi
21. Phalguni Desai, Mumbai
22. Priyadarshini Ohol, Mumbai
23. Rachita Taneja, Bangalore
24. Radha Mahendu, New Delhi
25. Raksha Kumar, Bangalore
26. Rattanamol Johal, New York
27. Rituparna Chatterjee, New Delhi
28. Sahej Rahal, Mumbai
29. Sandhya Menon, Bangalore
30. Sharareh Bajracharya, Kathmandu
31. Sitara Chowfla, New Delhi
32. Skye Arundhati Thomas, Mumbai
33. Sohrab Hura, New Delhi
34. Sumona Chakravarty, Kolkata
35. Tanvi Mishra, New Delhi
36. Vidisha-Fadescha, New Delhi
37. Vidyun Sabhaney, New Delhi/ Goa
38. Zarina Muhammad & Gabrielle de la Puente, White Pube, London/Liverpool

______________________________________________________________________

We are reaching out to you today as an institution that represents the Indian contemporary artist Mr. Subodh Gupta, deals in his artwork, collects his artwork, or otherwise has a stake in his practice, for your support and solidarity in this fight against sexual harassment.

In December 2018, the Instagram account @herdsceneand published seven anonymous accounts alleging sexual harassment and misconduct by Mr. Subodh Gupta. On 18 September 2019, Mr. Gupta filed a defamation suit against @herdsceneand in the Delhi High Court, demanding 5 crore rupees (~$700,000) in “token” damages. The Delhi High Court on 30 September 2019 directed that the posts referring to Mr. Gupta on @herdsceneand be taken down and directed Instagram to provide details of the “person/entity” running the Instagram handle to the court in a sealed envelope.

The allegations against Mr. Gupta have not, as yet, been tested in a court of law. As we know, sexual harassment is one of the most difficult charges to prove in court. The burden of proof is always placed on the survivor. Often survivors choose not to seek legal redress, and choose anonymity, fearing public stigma, career loss, financial burden and other forms of intimidation and retaliation such as this defamation case in itself, especially when the accused are in positions of power, like Mr. Gupta is.

The need therefore, for alternative redressal mechanisms, is urgent. And the need for institutions such as yours, and the larger arts community to show solidarity towards addressing sexual harassment, to shift our understanding of this as a collective problem and not just a problem between the perpetrator and survivor, is critical.

We appeal to you today to make the interventions that are in your power to be made. Although Mr. Gupta has the legal right to defend himself, the survivors who have shared their experiences also have a right to be heard.

We therefore ask that you initiate a fair and independent inquiry of these allegations against Mr. Gupta. We ask that you center the painful experiences of survivors in this process, taking into full consideration the challenges they face, and making every effort possible to establish a safe environment for survivors to come forward. We ask that your investigation honor the need to safeguard their identities against public stigma and other forms of retaliation. We ask that you seek every possible alternative to establish proof, without assigning that burden solely on the survivors themselves, but also seeking ways to corroborate accounts through witness and bystander testimonies, among other means. We ask that you honor the need for healing, and look into transformative and restorative actions for the survivors, as well as the perpetrator.

Without any attempt to investigate and establish the truth, this defamation suit against @herdsceneand which Mr. Gupta has filed, is an outright move to silence survivors and the platform that gave them a voice. This is a direct attempt to dissuade survivors from sharing their experiences of harassment and violence. This has already set a dangerous precedence, legal and otherwise, and will continue to perpetuate a culture of fear and impunity.

We write to you today to note our protest of these actions by Mr. Gupta, and to inquire re. the following;

  1. Are you aware of the allegations made against Mr. Subodh Gupta, an artist whom you represent, on 13th December 2018 and then again on 20th January 2019 on @herdsceneand?
  2. Do you have policies and preventive or redressal mechanisms that address sexual harassment within your institution? Do they apply to the artists you represent and work with, regardless of whether or not it is legally required? Are they included in artist and other contracts? If so, is this information accessible to the public? Would you be willing to share them with the public, and other institutions as a model and resource
  3. Have you had internal discussions pertaining to these allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Subodh Gupta?
  4. Have you pursued an enquiry on the basis of the allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Subodh Gupta? If you have, what have been the results of these enquiries been? We request that you kindly make your proceedings and findings public. If no enquiry has been made, why not?
  5. Are you aware that Mr. Gupta is misusing his position of power to intimidate, discredit and silence the survivors who have spoken up against him, and the platform that gave them a voice? What is your institutional position on this?

We attach to this communication, three independent statements that have been issued by different arts and media communities, endorsed by hundreds of signatories who represent the Indian and associated art world, who are all gravely concerned by this case. This is a public call for accountability that is growing in strength and which we hope will lead towards positive action.

We are at your disposal for any further discussions and pledge our collective support towards any institutional proceedings you may wish to initiate.

Sincerely,

In Solidarity with Survivors – an independent group of allies

 

_____________________

Reference links:

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/anonymity-tool-india-metoo-movement-191014112350666.html

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/nishitajha/instagram-me-too-scene-and-herd

https://scroll.in/latest/939264/metoo-artist-subodh-guptas-defamation-suit-is-an-attempt-to-silence-survivors-say-activists

https://thewire.in/women/subodh-gupta-metoo-defamation-suit-instagram

https://hyperallergic.com/520266/subodh-gupta-sexual-harassment-allegations/

A Letter from Artists in the Whitney Biennial (New York, US)

July 19, 2019

Dear Ru and Jane,

We respectfully ask you to withdraw our work from the Whitney Biennial for the remainder of the show. This request is intended as condemnation of Warren Kanders’ continued presence as Vice Chair of the Board. We would appreciate if you presented this letter to the Board to let them know the seriousness of the situation.

We care deeply about the Whitney. Over the years, many shows at the Museum have inspired and informed our art. We were angry when we learned of Kanders’ role as CEO of Safariland, a company that manufactures tear gas and other weapons of repression. At the time, we had already accepted your invitation to participate in the Whitney Biennial and some of us were well into fabrication of major pieces for this show. We found ourselves in a difficult position: withdraw in protest or stay and abide a conflicted conscience. We decided to participate.

But the Museum’s continued failure to respond in any meaningful way to growing pressure from artists and activists has made our participation untenable. The Museum’s inertia has turned the screw, and we refuse further complicity with Kanders and his technologies of violence.

We have enormous respect for you as curators and it has been a pleasure working with you.

Yours sincerely,

Korakrit Arunanondchai

Meriem Bennani

Nicole Eisenman

Nicholas Galanin

The open letter was addressed to Rujeko Hockley and Jane Panetta, curators of the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Read more here.

UPDATE

On Saturday morning, three additional artists said they were withdrawing work in solidarity. Eddie Arroyo and Agustina Woodgate announced through their gallery, Spinello Projects, of Miami, Fla., that “the request is intended as a condemnation of Warren Kanders’ continued presence as Vice-Chair of the Board and the Museum’s continued failure to respond in any meaningful way to growing pressure from artists and activists.”

A seventh artist, Christine Sun Kim, said in an email to The New York Times on Saturday that she, too, had asked for her work to be withdrawn from the Biennial.

“As a mother to a 2-year-old daughter, it terrifies me that my work is currently part of a platform that is now strongly associated with Kanders’ teargas-producing company Safariland,” she wrote to curators. “I do not want her to grow up in a world where free and peaceful expression is countered with means that have left people injured and dead.”

The eighth to ask that work be withdrawn was Forensic Architecture, a London-based research group, which produced a 10-minute video that directly addressed the controversy over Mr. Kanders, called “Triple-Chaser.”

Eyal Weizman, the founder and director of Forensic Architecture, said in an interview that the group had written to the curators on Saturday to remove “Triple-Chaser” and accompanying films. He added that Forensic Architecture asked that those films be replaced by a statement from the group about its new investigation suggesting that bullets made by a company, Sierra Bullets — which it alleges has ties to Mr. Kanders — were used by the Israeli forces against civilian protesters in Gaza in 2018.

In a written statement on Friday, Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s director, acknowledged the four artists’ letter to the curators.

“The Whitney respects the opinions of all the artists it exhibits and stands by their right to express themselves freely. While the Whitney is saddened by this decision, we will of course comply with the artists’ request.”

Warren Kanders’s Whitney Resignation Letter

On July 25th, Warren Kanders, a vice-chairman of the Whitney Museum of American Art, sent this letter to the rest of the Whitney board announcing he was stepping down following protests over his company’s sale of tear gas.

 

Academics Pen Open Letter to President Iván Duque Over Repression and Violence (Colombia)

June 12, 2019

21May 2019
Sir
Iván Duque Márquez
President of the Republic of Colombia,
Bogotá, Colombia

Open Letter

We are academics from Colombia and from all over the world and we wish to voice our concern over recent events in Colombia that include death threats, legal persecution and the assassination of social leaders, former guerrilla combatants and human and environmental rights defenders. According to the Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular, CINEP/Programa por la paz (Centre of Research and Popular Education, CINEP/Peace Program), of the cases categorized as political violence in 2018, there were 648 assassinations, 1,151 death threats, 304 people were injured, 48 people were victims of attacks, 22 forced disappearances, 3 sexual attacks, and 243 arbitrary detentions. In 2019, at least 62 social leaders have been killed so far.

Given these facts, we are outraged at the Colombian government’s failure to acknowledge the situation and we ask the government to take steps to avoid this continuous and systematic bloodshed and to prevent a repetition of deplorable events, such as the attempt on the life of Francia Márquez and other leaders from the North of Cauca that occurred on the 4th May this year. We have observed that hate and violence are encouraged from within places of power and the media and that this disrupts not only the little peace that has been achieved but as noted by Daniel Pécaut (2001), is a declaration of war against society.

As academics that conduct research on local, regional and international dynamics, we have seen how territories of geopolitical interest have been put in the spotlight and as a result have seen an escalation of conflicts linked to the expansion of the extractive industry. At the same time, we have noted that nefarious links have developed between legal and illegal forces in order to expel the local population from their territories. These types of relations have also been evidenced by Sassen (2015), Harvey (2004), Escobar (2014), and the analyst of defense, Herold (2007), among others, who have written on expulsion and dispossession as a means to make way for the large-scale accumulation of extractive projects.

In Colombia, a similar situation has been noted in relation to the country’s economic policy, a policy that promotes extractivism as a core strategy for development. This favorable policy climate is used by different sectors holding power, and which represent diverse interests, to take control of territories. As a result, there has been an escalation of assassinations against leaders who are defending the rights of local communities and peoples. Although this has been a reality for a long time, there has been an increase in cases since the signing of the agreements with the FARC – EP in 2016, in clear opposition to the hoped-for ‘territorial peace’.

We can conclude that these threats and assassinations are linked to various sectors who have a specific interest in regions in the country where there is a proposal to develop large-scale extractive projects. This also coincides with accounts given in ‘free version hearings’ at transitional justice processes and in decisions made by the Colombian Constitutional Court.

Recurring phrases in death threats like ‘finish off anyone who interferes with the development of the country’ identifies the local population as a military target, as this population, as voiced by their leaders, opposes extractive projects and wishes to avoid the negative impacts they have on ecosystems and populations. We have also noted that State bodies and the press have failed to take measures to prevent the threats, legal persecution and assassinations taking place and yet at the same time do not hesitate to signal and stigmatize social protest, the activities of social leaders and opposition to government policies.

It is also worrying that it was only when an attempt was made on the life of Francia
Márquez, a leader known internationally as the winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, who was with other well-known leaders at the time, that you chose to make a public pronouncement. Your government has failed to communicate what efforts are being taken to respond to this crisis. We are concerned that the measures taken to date have been insufficient and appear to be limited to weak security plans for social leaders at risk and a hunt for the material authors of these crimes. However, in order to identify the intellectual authors and the sectors behind this strategy of dispossession and extermination, it is imperative to understand the wider context.

As academics, we ask that as head of state you order an investigation in order to uncover what is really behind the despicable acts of violence taking place on a daily basis. At the same time, given the lack of action by your government and the size of the problem, we feel it is urgent and necessary to invite international organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to establish a Commission of Verification to investigate the causes of these violent acts so that we can have reliable information, prevent new cases occurring and ensure justice for the victims of the previous cases.

We hope that you recognize that this is a historic moment for Colombia and that it is possible to change the course of the national economy and of social policy to ensure that life and the environment are protected, resulting in a better life, a ‘buen vivir’, for future generations.

We invite you to share with us the measures taken and decisions made to date, to avoid more bloodshed in Colombia and ask what new actions will be taken to resolve this painful and intolerable humanitarian situation. We the undersigned continue to work towards world peace, towards territorial peace, towards a peace that is longed for in every corner of the earth and here, in Colombia, that has suffered so much.

cc: Most Holy Father Papa Francisco, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International

Académicos Nacionales

Alberto Múnera Duque, S.J.
Profesor – Investigador
Facultad de Teología
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá D.C

Arturo Escobar
Profesor de Antropología, Emérito
U. de Carolina del Norte, Chapel Hill, USA

Adelaida María Gaviria Rivera
Escuela de Biociencias
Facultad de Ciencias

Adira Amaya Urquijo
Docente investigadora
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Adriana del Pilar García Galán
Artista catedrática universitaria, Bogotá, D.C

Alonso Correa Toro,
Profesor veterinaria y ZOOTECNIA,
Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Alix Ginneth Camacho Vargas
Profesora cátedra
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, D.C

Ángela María Vásquez Correa
Profesora titular DSc.
Laboratorio de Productos Forestales LPF
Departamento de Ciencias Forestales

Andrés Villaveces
Departamento de Matemáticas
Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Aida Cecilia Gálvez Abadía (Dra.)
Profesora Titular Jubilada.
Universidad de Antioquia
Medellín (Colombia)

For full list of signatures go here.

Join us at iCI (Independent Curators International) in NYC for the launch of the ArtLeaks Gazette #5!

May 23, 2019
Event_Image_1

Image Caption: ArtLeaks, Banners, 2011-2015, “A Real Work of Art” (RAM Gallery, Oslo), 2015

Patriarchy Over & Out: Discourse Made Manifest: Corina Apostol and Jasmina Tumbas
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
6:30-8pm

ICI 401 Broadway Suite 1620
New York, NY 10013
FREE and open to the public

On June 4th join ICI for the launch of ArtLeaks Gazette #5: Patriarchy Over & Out: Discourse Made Manifest with co-editors Corina Apostol and Jasmina Tumbas will consider queer, trans, feminist, racial, and economic justice through discussion and visual exchange of related materials. Several contributors of the gazette will also be present. One of over twenty-five periodicals included in ICI’s Publishing Against the Grain, ArtLeaks is exemplary this touring exhibition that provides a space for reading, thinking, and conversing, where slowing down can become a form of intellectual resistance.

This event is free and open to the public. To attend, please RSVP to rsvp@curatorsintl.org with PATRIARCHY in the subject line.

61532937_10102552756552597_7058433375475859456_o

Poster by Jasmina Tumbas

 


Independent Curators International (ICI) is a unique arts organization that focuses on the role of the curator in contemporary art. We believe that curators create more than exhibitions — they are arts community leaders and organizers who champion artistic practice; build essential infrastructures, such as art spaces and institutions; and generate public engagement with art. Curators are, therefore, uniquely positioned to have an important impact on the artistic field, and on the communities they serve.

By connecting curators from different regions, backgrounds, and generations, and across social, political, and cultural borders, ICI provides an international framework for knowledge-sharing within which curators’ and artists’ practices can further develop.

ICI works with curators, artists, and art spaces from around the world to produce and present exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives for professionals. These collaborative programs promote our core values of cultural exchange, broad access to contemporary art, and building public awareness for the role of the curator. ICI engages with cultural producers who are the independent voices of the next generation of professionals in the field, and at the forefront of shaping curatorial trends and discourse.

This event is accessible to people with mobility disabilities. Please contact ICI for additional accessibility needs.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

 

ArtLeaks Gazette #5 Launch Event at S.a.L.E. Docks (Venice, Italy)

May 7, 2019

We are very happy and proud to announce the release of our latest issue of the ArtLeaks Gazette, entitled ‘Patriarchy Over & Out. Discourse Made Manifest’. 

Editors (Corina L. Apostol, Vladan Jeremic and Rena Raedle) and contributors will present the Gazette during a public discussion at S.a.L.E. Docks (Dorsoduro 265, 30123 Venice, Italy) from 3-5 PM on Friday, May 10th, 2019. 

S.a.L.E. Docks is located: Near Punta della Dogana, in Dorsoduro.

How to get there : Actv line 1 (stop: Salute), Actv lines 2, 5.1, 5,2, 6.1, 6.2, (stop: Zattere), Actv lines 5.1, 5,2 (stop: Spirito Santo). Private dock nearby.

The Gazette brings together contributions that analyze concrete practices and campaigns, and which engage theoretically and intersectionally with relevant issues related to queer, trans, feminist, first nations, racial, and economic justice. The diverse contributions in this issue – including poetry, petitions, lyrics, visual art, activism, manifestoes, and critical essays – confront nationalist discourses, colonial violences, orthodox regimes, misogynist cultural and political programs, crises of identity politics, and the remaining legacies of white supremacy, considering not only overall conditions in the artworld but also local specificities. While the contributions are diverse in their political and cultural scope, their common target remains toxic patriarchy in all its nefarious manifestations. The writers, musicians, artists, activists, filmmakers, and poets featured in this issue envision and demand a different reality and future. To summon Planningtorock’s words from All Love’s Legal (2014): ‘I don’t want to wait, patriarchal life, you’re out of date.’

The gazette includes contributions by: Planningtorock, Judith Goldman, Susanne Sachsee, Ashon Crawley, Kim Bode, Magdalena Zurawski, Nitasha Dhillon, Ana Grujić, Bridget Daria O’ Neill, Mickey Harmon, Joshua Lam, Jasmina Tumbas, Divya Victor, Scene & Heard, Nosotras Proponemos, Erika Balsom & Elena Gorfinkel, Shanté Paradigm Smalls, We are sick of it, Imani Henry, Betty Yu, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Paris Henderson, Boineelo Cassandra Mouse, Amanda Fayant, Van Tran Nguyen, Selma Banich, Nina Gojić, Ena Jurov & Tajana Josimović, Fred Moten & Corina L. Apostol, LaKisha Simmons, Matt Applegate & Andrew Culp, Shannon Woodcock, Chiara Bonfiglioli, Danai Anagnostou, Katja Kobolt & Anna Ehrenstein, Alyssa Schwendener, Tanya Loughead, Mima Simić

Editorial and layout: Corina L. Apostol, Rena&Vladan, with guest editor Jasmina Tumbas

More discussions and workshops will be announced in the near future.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More information about the exhibition Oceans of People at S.a.L.E Docs:

“OCEANS OF PEOPLE, The project analyzes the impact that the tourist industry has on Barcelona and Venice, pointing out common issues and facing under various points of view the different effects. The narrator’s voice belongs to the collectives, committees, and associations that are struggling to defend their environment and common goods, criticizing the prevalent model of touristic development which is threatening the survival of these two cities of heritage. Through photos, posters, videos and interactive installations, tourists and citizens are invited to think about how their behaviors and daily actions can influence these processes of cultural and urban decay. There are also other consequent alarming phenomena to deal with, such as gentrification, the impact of cruise ships and its masses of tourists, the transformation of commercial activities and the consequent loss of local traditions. The aim is to face the values of these endangered heritages, trying to empower the collective denunciation reaction and to push for the administration’s intervention.”

Connect with us:  art-leaks.org/ | Instagram @artsleaks | Facebook: @ArtLeaks | Twitter: @Art_Leaks

 

ArtLeaks Gazette #5: Patriarchy Over & Out. Discourse Made Manifest now online!

April 29, 2019

Cover_Page_ALG#5

We are very happy and proud to announce the release of our latest issue of the ArtLeaks Gazette, entitled “Patriarchy Over & Out. Discourse Made Manifest”

ArtLeaks Gazette #5: “Patriarchy Over & Out. Discourse Made Manifest” brings together contributions that analyze concrete practices and campaigns, and which engage theoretically and intersectionally with relevant issues related to queer, trans, feminist, first nations, racial, and economic justice. The diverse contributions in this issue – including poetry, petitions, lyrics, visual art, activism, manifestoes, and critical essays – confront nationalist discourses, colonial violences, orthodox regimes, misogynist cultural and political programs, crises of identity politics, and the remaining legacies of white supremacy, considering not only overall conditions in the artworld but also local specificities. While the contributions are diverse in their political and cultural scope, their common target remains toxic patriarchy in all its nefarious manifestations. The writers, musicians, artists, activists, filmmakers, and poets featured in this issue envision and demand a different reality and future. To summon Planningtorock’s words from All Love’s Legal (2014): “I don’t want to wait, patriarchal life, you’re out of date.”

The gazette is freely available to read here:

We want to thank Planningtorock for granting us permission to use the title of their 2014 song, “Patriarchy Over & Out,” as the main theme of ALG#5, and Paris Henderson, for granting us permission to use one of his artworks on the cover

The online gazette is published under the Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial-share alike if not marked differently in the specific contributions, and the materials are offered for translation in any languages to any interested party. Limited printed copies are available. ALG#5 editorial encourages anyone who would like to support us to print smaller print runs of ALG#5. ArtLeaks encourages contributors to be an active part of spreading the ALG by hosting it on their site and forwarding it on to their networks.

The gazette includes contributions by: Planningtorock, Judith Goldman, Susanne Sachsee, Ashon Crawley, Kim Bode, Magdalena Zurawski, Nitasha Dhillon, Ana Grujić, Bridget Daria O’ Neill, Mickey Harmon, Joshua Lam, Jasmina Tumbas, Divya Victor, Scene & Heard, Nosotras Proponemos, Erika Balsom & Elena Gorfinkel, Shanté Paradigm Smalls, We are sick of it, Imani Henry, Betty Yu, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Paris Henderson, Boineelo Cassandra Mouse, Amanda Fayant, Van Tran Nguyen, Selma Banich, Nina Gojić, Ena Jurov & Tajana Josimović, Fred Moten & Corina L. Apostol, LaKisha Simmons, Matt Applegate & Andrew Culp, Shannon Woodcock, Chiara Bonfiglioli, Danai Anagnostou, Katja Kobolt & Anna Ehrenstein, Alyssa Schwendener, Tanya Loughead, Mima Simić

Editorial and layout: Corina L. Apostol, Rena&Vladan, with guest editor Jasmina Tumbas

Title page illustration: Paris Henderson

More discussions and workshops will be announced in the near future. If you would like to host one please send us an email at artsleaks@gmail.com. 

ART WORKERS WON’T KISS ASS AND EAT FLOWERS: A documentation on the art workers’ mobilizations (Galerie La Box, Bourges, France)

March 28, 2019

//EN

A documentation on the actions of ArtLeaks , Art Workers’ Coalition, Economie solidaire de l’art, Front des artistes plasticiens, Global Ultra Luxury Faction, Guerrilla Girls, Haben und Brauchen, Precarious Workers Brigade, KURS, Temporary Services, Working Artists and the Greater Economy

Exhibition curated by Frédéric Herbin

In 1969, the creation of the Art Workers Coalition was based on the criticism of an art world which concentrated the powers in the hands of the few to the detriment of workers who formed its base. Fifty years later, this criticism remains more relevant than ever before, while the list of collectives that have taken it continues to grow. As this story unfolds, multiple images of the activism appear reversing the worn-out figures of the individual creator, detached from material conditions or committed heroes. The contents and forms of these mobilizations are the focus this exhibition.

The economic issue is obviously central and that of remuneration regularly asked. During the last two decades, several analyses of the evolution of capitalism have nevertheless made the portrait of the artist as champion of flexibility and intermittent work (1). While workers are struggling to improve the material conditions imposed on them, the artist critique would demand creative autonomy and freedom that would be widespread in all sectors of society (2). This strict sharing of political demands between, on the one hand, the demands for emancipation, the extension of individual liberties and, on the other hand, those which relate to the improvement of the material conditions of life and work, has helped to keep the struggles we chose to exhibit in the dark. In these struggles the question of work in the artistic field seems more like a platform where the different demands come together. In addition to the directly targeted material conditions, this question opens broadly on both feminist and postcolonial issues, raising, from the beginning, the problems of access and wage discrimination or, more recently, that of the international division of labor. Thus by calling into question all the links in the art chain, the activism of many collectives is fully part of a history of institutional critique that continues to be written.

Between the end of the 1960s and today, the documented modes of action make it possible to emphasize constants, such as the use of protest occupations, the production of images with instantaneous impact or the edition of various textual supports to call attention and inform.

They also show the renewal of means at the time of video projections and e-blasts spread on the web. This corpus of visual forms, whose status is sometimes difficult to determine, questions the link between art and activism. The choice of direct action corresponds poorly to an authoritative conception and history of artistic activity as the production of aesthetic forms legitimized by the actors of the art world. This choice often involves the use of inexpensive materials, easily transportable and quickly spread. We observe thenceforth how the repertoires of collective actions are easily shared from one field of contestation to another, upsetting the idea that the artistic domain could be separated.
The bias to include a historical perspective in the exhibition supports these facts by inscribing the art workers’ mobilizations in the contexts that develop around the 1968 uprisings, then in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. The imagined device is also an operational space from which information can be disseminated. The logic of the DIY Do it for yourself that feeds the forms created for the mobilizations is found here fully in the scenography and in the will to offer visitors a space to assemble its own fanzine from those collected.

We thank all the collectives for the documents they sent us and Setare Arashloo and The Illuminator.


(1) Pierre-Michel Menger, Portrait de l’artiste en travailleur. Métamorphoses du capitalisme, Paris, Editions du Seuil, La République des Idées, 2002. In English see also Artists as workers: Theoretical and methodological challenges, Poetics, Volume 28, Issue 4, February 2001, p. 241-254.
(2) Luc Boltanski, Eve Chiapello, The New Spirit of Capitalism, London, New York, Verso, 2005.

For more information please follow this link.

 

//FR

Une documentation sur les actions de ArtLeaks ; Art Workers’ Coalition ; Économie solidaire de l’art ; Front des artistes plasticiens ; Global Ultra Luxury Faction ; Guerrilla Girls ; Haben und Brauchen ; Precarious Workers Brigade ; KURS ; Temporary Services ; Working Artists and a Greater Economy

Exposition proposée par Frédéric Herbin

En 1969, la création de l’Art Workers’ Coalition reposait sur la critique du fonctionnement d’un monde de l’art qui concentrait les pouvoirs dans les mains de quelques-uns au détriment des travailleur·euse·s qui en étaient à la base. Cinquante ans plus tard, cette critique reste plus que jamais d‘actualité alors que la liste des collectifs qui l’ont portée ne cesse de s’allonger. Au fil de cette histoire se dessinent des images plurielles de l’activisme à rebours des figures éculées du créateur individuel, détaché des conditions matérielles ou héros engagé. C’est aux contenus et aux formes de ces mobilisations que cette exposition s’intéresse.

La question économique y est évidemment centrale et celle de la rémunération  régulièrement posée. Pendant les deux dernières décennies, plusieurs analyses des évolutions du capitalisme ont pourtant fait le « portrait de l’artiste » en champion de la flexibilité et du travail intermittent 1. Tandis que les ouvrier·ère·s luttent pour l’amélioration des conditions matérielles qui leurs sont imposées, la « critique artiste » réclamerait une autonomie et une liberté créatrices appelées à être généralisées dans tous les secteurs de la société 2. Ce partage strict des revendications politiques entre, d’une part, les demandes d’émancipation, d’extension des libertés individuelles et, d’autre part, celles qui touchent à l’amélioration des conditions matérielles collectives de vie et de travail, a contribué à maintenir dans l’ombre les luttes que nous avons choisi d’exposer. La question du travail dans le domaine artistique y apparaît davantage comme une plateforme où les différentes revendications se rejoignent. Outre les conditions matérielles directement ciblées, cette question ouvre largement sur les problématiques autant féministes que postcoloniales, en soulevant, depuis le début les problèmes des discriminations d’accès et de salaires ou, plus récemment, celui de la division internationale du travail. En mettant ainsi en cause l’ensemble des maillons de la chaîne de l’art, le militantisme de nombreux collectifs participe pleinement d’une histoire de la critique institutionnelle qui continue de s’écrire.

Entre la fin des années 1960 et aujourd’hui, les modes d’action documentés permettent de souligner des constantes, telles que le recours à la manifestation, la production d’images à portée immédiate ou l’édition de divers supports textuels pour interpeller et informer. Ils montrent également le renouvellement des moyens à l’heure des projections vidéo et des « e-blasts » diffusés sur la toile. Ce corpus de formes visuelles, dont le statut est parfois difficile à déterminer, interroge l’articulation entre art et militantisme. Le choix de l’action directe correspond mal à une conception et une histoire autorisées de l’activité artistique comme production de formes esthétiques légitimées par les acteurs du monde l’art. Ce choix implique souvent l’utilisation de matériaux peu coûteux, facilement transportables et rapidement diffusables. On observe dès lors comment les répertoires d’actions collectives se partagent aisément d’un champ de la contestation à un autre, bousculant l’idée que le domaine artistique pourrait être séparé.

Nous remercions l’ensemble des collectifs pour les documents qu’ils nous ont transmis ainsi que Setare Arashloo et The Illuminator.

1 Pierre-Michel Menger, Portrait de l’artiste en travailleur. Métamorphoses du capitalisme, Paris, Editions du Seuil, La République des Idées, 2002.
2 Luc Boltanski, Eve Chiapello, Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme, Paris, Editions Gallimard, 1999.

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