Defined as the art of criticising, (1) critique is no black and white issue, coming as it does in many shades of grey. This text explores the implications of turning the art of criticising into an artform in itself. In 1977, Adorno wrote that ‘it is not the office of art to spotlight alternatives, but to resist by its form alone the course of the world which permanently puts a pistol to men’s heads’.(2) The arsenal aimed at humanity has never been more menacing and the need for critique, resistance and dissent never greater. Some artists have responded to this threat by launching a critique of society through their form and subject matter. Others have not.
Critique is incited by inequality. At a macro level, the root causes of inequality – ‘free’ trade, third world debt, the profit motive – are economic. So, too, at the micro level and, while the art world is not a closed system, protected from the economic forces that operate in broader society, it may be considered as a microcosm in which to study those forces. As art can not be dissociated from the conditions of its production and distribution, what happens when critique intersects with institutions, which embrace values that form the basis of that critique, must also be examined.
In evaluating the potency of critique within art, it is first necessary to consider its intentions; fundamentally whether art seeks to effect change. At one end of the spectrum, critique has been employed by artists as a means to raise awareness of issues, as part of the continuum that sought to use culture in preparing the subjective conditions for revolution when it was clear that this was one of the failings in the 1920s (in the words of Sture Johannesson, ‘Revolution Means Revolutionary Consciousness’)3. In terms of subject matter, where an earlier generation largely engaged in a critique of art and its mechanisms,(4) the way has been paved for effective critique to move beyond self-referentiality, as identified by Peter Weibel in his 1994 Kontextkunst (context art) project, suggestive of a proactive attitude towards change:
It is no longer purely about critiquing the art system, but about critiquing reality and analysing and creating social processes. In the ’90s, non-art contexts are being increasingly drawn into the art discourse. Artists are becoming autonomous agents of social processes, partisans of the real. The interaction between artists and social situations, between art and non-art contexts has lead to a new art form, where both are folded together: Context art. The aim of this social construction of art is to take part in the social construction of reality. (5)
Ten years on, approaches to critique by individual artists range from a re-evaluation of ideology – such as that in the work of Colin Darke (Derry) and Pavel Büchler (Manchester), both of whom undertake polemical writing in parallel with their practice – to the leading by example of Scandinavian collective N55. (6)
Explicit critique of the consciousness-raising kind, has been variously dismissed as social work that has no business in the art world and as that ‘equipped with a clearly visible label saying ‘critical art’ [in which] there is more of a danger of the work failing’.(7) In other words, ‘using the label “didactic” conceals the fear that something might truly be learned from art, in the sense that it might be a useful source of information’. (8) This raises questions about who stands to gain by maintaining the status quo that actively critical art work seeks to disrupt, about which more later.
At the other end of the spectrum, critique may be considered as little more than a carping from the sidelines, a way to ease social conscience and an ultimately flaccid endeavour. In recent years, against a backdrop of upheaval and anti-capitalist protest, the two dominant artistic trends legitimised by the establishment in Western Europe – ‘Relational Aesthetics’ and ‘New Formalism’ – have been predicated on ambivalence towards change. Paris-based curator Nicolas Bourriaud’s inconsistent thesis Relational Aesthetics identified a loose grouping of artists reacting to the dehumanising, reifying tendencies of advanced capitalism, through technology and the excessive mediation of human experience, and sought to revive social relations. From the outset, Relational Aesthetics eschewed utopianism and direct criticism:
Social utopias and revolutionary hopes have given way to everyday micro-utopias and imitative strategies, any stance that is “directly” critical of society is futile, if based on the illusion of a marginality that is nowadays impossible not to say regressive. (9)
Taking the baton from artists working with site-specificity, those collectively described by Bourriaud slotted neatly into existing reality to set up situations claimed as ‘disconcerting’ and thereby subversive. Working nomadically in local situations, the artists were essentially described as operating according to the principles of Foucault’s local intellectual, subsequently discredited from an orthodox Marxian perspective as someone who:
speaks for those who already have their material needs met that can afford to see politics in terms of what is possible within the existing institutions of capitalism and already have the power to project that interest as universal. (10)
Perhaps the most interesting assertion within the flawed concept of Relational Aesthetics is that ‘art represents a social interstice’ (11) in the context used by Marx to describe zones between and beyond capitalism. However, Bourriaud simultaneously refutes any attempt by the art that he identifies to operate outside capitalism: ‘As a human activity based on commerce, art is at once the object and the subject of an ethic. And this all the more so because, unlike other activities, its sole function is to be exposed to this commerce’. (12) Indeed, all the Relational artists have commercial representation and some have made artwork about their relationships to dealers. But, the increasingly elusive potential of the interstice is interesting enough to warrant later study.
Across the Channel, Britain responded with the dominant trope of New Formalism, exemplified by the ‘Early One Morning’ exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery and championed by JJ Charlesworth in London and Neil Mulholland in Edinburgh.(13) As the name suggests, this is market-friendly formalism at its least threatening, whose only claim to critique resides in feint parody, which prompted (then Transmission Gallery committee member) Nick Evans to ask:
Why is it that whilst the world outside spirals in ever tighter circles of terror and repression, artists retreat further into a hermetic world of abstraction, formalism, deferred meanings and latent spiritualism? (14)
Public Spaces, Private Initiatives
A word about inequality before considering the precise nature of the relationship between artistic critique and institutions. In Scotland, the Arts Council invests the majority of its visual art funding (more than 93% of voted funds) in an infrastructure of galleries and museums with a tiny percentage of the visual art budget going directly to the research and development of artistic practice or to the grassroots organisations that do the most to support this practice. (15) The rationale behind this is that institutions indirectly support artists. However, a recent audit, commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council (conducted, as has become customary, by private consultants, employees of public funding bodies presumably lacking the objectivity or expertise), showed that 82% of visual artists in Scotland earn less than £5,000 per year from their practice, with 28% earning nothing whatsoever. (16) This is the status quo which those in positions of power are happy to maintain. Protectionism is rife within Scottish institutions, with funding and careers at stake. Institutional figures publicly advocate better conditions for artists and the involvement of artists in decision-making processes while any actual attempts at transparency and change are privately vilified. In order to tackle broader social ills, surely we must first address the imbalances on our own doorstep. Otherwise, there is a very real danger of critique acting as empty rhetoric.
Established in 2001 along traditional trade union lines, the Scottish Artists’ Union aims to address inequalities of income, following similar attempts by the Artists’ Union in London (1972-1983) and the Art Workers’ Coalition (17) in New York in the 1960s and 1970s, the latter of which tended towards attempts to regulate the art market, leading to the Artists’ Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement in 1969 and providing the backdrop to Institutional Critique. Current realities would suggest, however, that artists are barely more empowered than when they first began unionising.
The Euro-wide realisation that artists are being exploited as flexible knowledge- or brain-workers (18) has led to claims of ‘flexploitation’ and demands for ‘flexicurity’ and prompted a consideration of (admittedly relatively privileged) artists as precarious workers, with precarity defined in general as the existential state that afflicts us all and, more specifically the condition of not being able to control or predict one’s working life and conditions. (19) Exploitation of a flexible labour market is a recurring theme in any consideration of inequality.
In most European countries, the public institutions of art are funded, directly or indirectly (through supposedly ‘arms length’ funding bodies such as Arts Councils), by the state, itself tarnished with the stigma of neo-imperialism in the West and of totalitarianism in the East. In the UK, arts funding policy complements central governmental aims by instrumentalising art in ways which dovetail with the corporate world. Since 1997 under New Labour, this has seen public funds increasingly ring-fenced for priorities like social inclusion which is ‘premised on the top-down “democratisation” of culture, a process aimed at engaging members of “excluded” groups in historically privileged cultural arenas. Such a policy neither reforms the existing institutional framework of culture, nor reverses a process of damaging privatisation. Instead, it attempts to make the arts more accessible in order to adapt its target audiences to an increasingly deregulated labour market’. (20) Not only does social inclusion policy use culture to encourage previously disenfranchised workers to play a productive role in the economy, it also aims to project a veneer of job satisfaction from within the sector, with ‘empowered’ arts workers finding self esteem through their poorly paid work. The rhetoric of social inclusion is a palliative that does nothing to address the inequalities of society. Instead, in embracing the arts for their own ends, government ministers fail to acknowledge the critical potential of art. (21)
Where once it might have been possible to speak of a division between public and private interests, within the art microcosm as elsewhere, there has been a steady erosion of any semblance of distinction, with a mesh of interweaving solidarities ensuring that there is an ongoing symbiosis between the two realms. It is important to note that this does not entail a nation state entirely subordinate to corporate interests; rather ‘The illusion of a weakened state is the smokescreen thrown up by the designers of the ‘new order’. Margaret Thatcher concentrated executive power while claiming the opposite; Tony Blair has done the same. The European project is all about extending the frontiers of a “superstate”. Totalitarian China has embraced the “free” market while consolidating its vast state apparatus’. (22)
Throughout the 1990s, multinational corporations intervened into public arts institutions, primarily in London, through sponsorship programmes and networking clubs.(23) This move was, by and large, embraced by institutions whose ambitions had exceeded their budgets. However, as Anthony Davies recently documented, corporate funding has been receding in the wake of the dot com implosion and global recession, with business investment in the arts falling from £134 million to £99 million between 1999/01 and 2001/02 and new initiatives will need to be found to fill the shortfall. (24)
Rather than countering the trend for direct corporate intervention into the arts and publicly-funded attempts to fuel the private labour market, by lobbying for recognition of the critical value of art to a free and fair society in order to safeguard it through public funding, Arts Council England has responded by commissioning another report from private consultants called Taste Buds: how to cultivate the art market. This document unequivocally places the flourishing private market at the centre of the art system and examines how it could be better exploited, identifying a further 6.1 million potential collectors of contemporary art. In a final assimilation of public into private, the report identifies ‘subscription […] the process by which art is filtered and legitimised’ whereby ‘Networks of art world professionals, including academics, curators, dealers, critics, artists and buyers, provide advocacy and endorsement for an artist’s work through exhibitions, critical appraisal and private and public purchases. The value of an artist’s work increases in direct proportion to the subscription it attracts and sustains’. (25)
The report places ‘special emphasis on the sales of ‘cutting edge’ contemporary work, which is critically engaged’, failing to take proper account of the intention of such art to remain outside the private market. A diagram (above) has been produced to demonstrate exactly how this process works, with all activities in what was traditionally regarded as the public sphere, from art school and artist-led activity to public gallery, rendered subordinate to the market. This vindicates the neo-conservative rant of Dave Hickey in the US who has long claimed that the artworld is founded on the market, that non-object based art emerged simply because the gallery walls were full and that public institutions exist to absorb the fallout from the private market. (26)
Combined with the fact that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has just frozen Arts Council England funding (which essentially means a £30 million shortfall over the next few years),(27) that the Welsh Arts Council has been scrapped in favour of centralised Welsh Assembly control (28) and that the Scottish Executive is undergoing a major review of its cultural provision that is likely to see the replacement of the Arts Council with more centralised control,(29) it could be assumed that, by potentially finding a private home for even the most contentious artwork, Arts Council England is pre-emptively exempting itself from support. In Scotland, this move has been paralleled by funding being ear-marked for art fairs, a ‘collecting initiative’ (which has so far seen the production of the ‘How to Buy Art’ leaflet to engender a new art-buying public)30 and ongoing funding for Glasgow’s internationally successful commercial gallery The Modern Institute.(31) In 2004, Glasgow Art Fair included stands by many grassroots organisations.(32) Lack of funding for travel means that attendance at art fairs is advocated by public funders for those artist-led initiatives wishing to broaden their networks and has been cited as the reason for Transmission taking part in the Frieze Art Fair, something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. It comes as little surprise, therefore, that the content of artist-run spaces increasingly parallels that of commercial galleries, providing scant alternative to New Formalism.
With ‘professionalism’ increasingly replacing criticality in art schools, the only viable option that confronts most emerging artists, in many cases before they have even graduated, is to tailor their work to the art market. An interesting example in this regard is that of the Israeli company ArtLink, established by Tal Danai in 1997, to whom (if the pathos of the website is to be believed) a vision came in a dream that he could help starving art students by selling their work. Teaming up with Sotheby’s in 1998, Danai has signed agreements with hundreds of artists around the world while they are still in education giving ArtLink exclusive rights to sell piece(s) of their work within a twelve month period. Under the assumption that their work is to be auctioned after having been included in an exhibition and promoted accordingly, art students with negligible experience of the art market and no access to advice are asked to state a minimum price (easily mistaken for the starting price at auction) 33 for which their work is to be sold. But, as the contract states, ‘ArtLink shall have the right not to present all of the works in the auctions, and to offer any of them for sale outside the auction…’ Speaking anonymously, one of the artists who signed a contract with ArtLink discovered that their work, a video, was not screened in advance of the auction in which it was sold to an employee of ArtLink for a fraction of its current market value.
These are the problematics of the existing art system that face artists undertaking critique. If they are to maintain an autonomous practice artists are left with little choice besides total withdrawal and a refusal to engage with the mechanisms of the institution and market through their individual and collective activity. While the role of artists arguably remains to ask questions rather than provide answers, multifarious attempts have been made by artists to ‘spotlight alternatives’ through self-organised activity as a way to bypass the institution. The Cube microplex in Bristol is an interesting example of non-hierarchical voluntary labour, with more than a hundred people involved in producing a lively programme of events (sometimes only tangentially related to film) in an old cinema space, relying on ticket sales for running costs and programming. (34)
Critique of the Institution and the Institutionalisation of Critique
The situation outlined here is accepted as the norm to such an extent that even the most self-professedly sympathetic curators refuse to see beyond it. Until now, solace has been taken, by curators and commentators alike, in speculative notions like that of Pierre Bourdieu’s collective global intellectual,(35) whereby local actors undertake their work as part of a global initiative, the danger here being that of being an alibi to capitalism whereby: ‘Bourdieu makes the intellectual into a symbolic category whose knowledges, her cultural capital, make her an “elite” that dominates over others whose knowledges have less status in the market and who can only unite with them therefore by de-privileging her knowledges and becoming a pragmatic activist’. (36)
When critique-as-art/art-as-critique crosses the threshold of the institution and relinquishes its autonomy, it accepts the hierarchies inherent in the situation and submits itself to the ideology of the institution. Since the infallible, neutral, objective space of the institution slipped from its pedestal during late Modernism, it has been exposed to scrutiny at all levels. The question remains, given the inequalities that persist, as to why the heirs of Institutional Critique would collaborate with institutions at all.(37) One answer would seem to lie with the role of institutions in legitimising culture and the ultimate need of artists for legitimation that drives this bargain: ‘If this phenomenon represents another instance of domestication of vanguard works by the dominant culture, it is not solely because of the self-aggrandising needs of the institution or the profit-driven nature of the market. Artists, no matter how deeply convinced their anti-institutional sentiment or adamant their critique of dominant ideology, are inevitably engaged, self-servingly or with ambivalence, in this process of cultural legitimation’. (38)
When critique intersects with institutions, whatever its apparent subject matter, it is rightly assumed to be at least in part a critique of the institution itself and the hegemony to which it belongs. Nowadays, self-conscious institutions have come to nervously expect this and assert their progressive stance by ‘collaborating’ with artists who will assist them in their self-criticality. As early as 1990, Isabelle Graw identified a trend whereby ‘the commissioning institution (the museum or gallery) turns to an artist as a person who has the legitimacy to point out the contradictions and irregularities of which they themselves disapprove… Subversion in the service of one’s own convictions finds easy transition into subversion for hire; “criticism turns into spectacle”‘ (39)
Maria Lind, outgoing director of Kunstverein München, has embraced a form of ‘constructive institutional critique’.(40) Prior to her departure from Munich, she organised a Colloquium on Collaborative Practice that aimed at welcoming self-organised artists’ groups back into the institution by posing questions such as: ‘What can institutional politics learn from independent, self-organised teams? What are the pitfalls curators and artists have to be aware of? How should an institution investigate where exactly collaborative, activist teams would feel at home, and where they could use resources and function best?’ (41) What this colloquium revealed was that there are as many reasons for artists and artists’ groups engaging with the institution – from accessing audiences to negotiating with outside bodies – as there are attitudes towards criticality.
Curated critique represents only one path through the minefield of engagement and should be undertaken with due caution and attention to the economy of this exchange (see Scottish Artists Union recommended rates of pay for artists). Aside from properly remunerating artists for the development of their work, the institution should ensure that the critical intentions of artists are respected in reaching audiences, to which individual artists and self-organised groups would not normally have access.
Curating as Critique
In addition to enacting resistance through their form and subject matter, artists have consistently assumed the office of spotlighting alternatives through their self-organised activity and would seem to have exhausted most of the options available, with much being subsumed by the institution. But, since the inequalities that persist in the art system and beyond are not tenable long term, this is no longer the sole responsibility of artists. The time has come for all those involved in the commissioning and mediation of art to play an active part in redressing the balance and there are two proactive ways which suggest themselves.
In the past, institutional curators have not been vociferous enough in overseeing the fair distribution of state funding to artists, in the fear that it would jeopardise their own funding. The first step would be to demand that more money reaches artists, directly and through the voluntary sector, lobbying higher up the funding food chain if necessary.
Writing in 1995 about the economic situation in the United States, Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, predicted that increased automisation would inevitably decrease the amount of labour available. What little work would remain within the market economy, he asserted, should be spread more evenly throughout the populace, reducing the working week and limiting the potential for overtime. In formulating his thesis, Rifkin makes a nonsense of current UK government attempts to channel more workers into the labour market through policies like social inclusion: ‘Continued efforts to find non-existent jobs in the formal economy, or jobs that will likely be eliminated by re-engineering and automation a few years down the line, seem equally misdirected’. (42)
In considering the post-market era, Rifkin turned to the so-called third- or voluntary sector, whereby the extra time created by those rendered under- or un-employed by the market sector would be used to build community structures: ‘The very idea of broadening one’s loyalties and affiliations beyond the narrow confines of the marketplace and the nation state to include the human species and the planet is revolutionary and portends vast changes in the structure of society. Acting on behalf of the interests of the entire human and biological community, rather than one’s own narrow material self-interest, makes the third sector paradigm a serious threat to the consumption-oriented vision of the still-dominant market economy’. (43) Rifkin calculated that government provision of a ‘shadow wage’ through tax deductions for the partially employed and a guaranteed income for the unemployed (a move which apparently received unambiguous support in the United States as early as 1967), would work out cheaper for the government than administering community programmes themselves. Similar moves within the voluntary sector of the art world would safeguard its necessary survival. While the introduction of salaried positions into voluntary organisations would inevitably force a significant shift in ethos that some may not be prepared to accept, the right to make a living wage should be extended to individual artists and those working in grassroots organisations.
The second response that concerned parties in the art world can make to the inequalities of the system is more radical and may have broader resonance. Erroneously evoked by Bourriaud, the potential still exists for art to operate in the interstices, not only to spotlight alternative models but also to test, implement and disseminate them. As we have seen, the main factor underlying inequality is an economic one and it is an economic solution that needs to be found. In the light of diminishing and instrumentalised public funding and a massive orientation towards the market, a contingency urgently needs to be developed. A self-sustaining economy that does not rely on the mechanisms of capitalism will be needed to create the conditions for truly autonomous artistic production to thrive.
Clearly, much work will need to be done, on both a theoretical and practical level, in close dialogue with economists. A study of useful precedents in other fields has already begun, such as Gardar Eide Einarsson’s examination of the hardcore music scene which shows how production and distribution may be controlled, albeit through sales of work, by its authors.(44) On a practical level, Total Kunst in Edinburgh is a multi-media space funded through the revenue of The Forest, a vegetarian café. In London, a diverse group has formed around Flaxman Lodge, a space established in response to the fact that ‘very few economic models, forms of organisation or address […] have managed to keep pace with the fields they claim to engage and critique’. Aiming ‘to imagine building environments that might offset the crushing corporatisation of cultural space in London’ Flaxman Lodge acknowledged the ‘tension between what could be referred to as its inevitable subject-centredness (courtesy of the lease, funds and space that make it possible), and its objective to build models of collective production, enunciation, sustainability’. Following an initial invitation for thirty people to join an internet forum and play a part in the democratic regulation of activities, (45) many more people have registered to be involved, which has generated as much of a mental space as a physical one. Flaxman Lodge is at the forefront of many of the issues outlined here, for example the week-long Unionising Workshop, organised by Jakob Jakobsen and collaborators in June, 2004, that looked at historical precedents (including the Artists’ Union in England and other trades unions) and contemporary examples (including UKK) 46, explored the issue of precarity and examined the viability of a Knowledge Workers’ Union.
Projects such as Flaxman Lodge provide a tangible opportunity for events to move from the realm of reactive critique towards proactive engagement and have the potential to move beyond the confines of the art world, with new ethical economic models being developed that may be replicated in other situations. In this way, the art world microcosm becomes more than just a vehicle for passive scrutiny and provides an arena for new ideas and models to be developed which, if successful, might leak through its permeable membrane and into society at large.
Commissioned for Curating Critique, 2005
1. According to the Collins English Dictionary, critique is defined as:
– 1. a critical essay or commentary
-2. the act or art of criticising
2. Theodor Adorno, ‘Commitment’ in Aesthetics and Politics (London: New Left Books, 1977), p. 180.
3. See Sture Johannesson, Revolution Means Revolutionary Consciousness, 1968 (otherwise known as ‘the hash girl poster’). Thanks to Will Bradley for making this connection.
4 . See Andrea Fraser, ‘What’s intangible, transitory, immediate, participatory and rendered in the public sphere? Part II: A Critique of Artistic Autonomy’ (see http://home.att.net/~artarchives/frasercritique.html).
5 . Peter Weibel, Kontextkunst – Kunst der 90er Jahre (Köln: DuMont Verlag, 1994), p. 57, translated by Barnaby Drabble.
6 . See http://www.n55.dk with particular reference to the SHOP project which operates at the level of both societal and institutional critique.
7 . Maria Lind, ‘Notes on Art, Its Institutions and their Presumed Criticality’ in Spin Cycle (Bristol: Spike Island, 2004). P. 36.
8 . Isabelle Graw, ‘Field Work’, Flash Art, November/December, 1990, p. 137.
9 . Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, (Les Presses du Réel, 1998), translated into English 2002, p. 31.
10. Stephen Tumino, ‘Pierre Bourdieu as New Global Intellectual for Capital’ in The Red Critique, Sept/Oct, 2002 (see http://www.redcritique.org)
11. Bourriaud, op cit, p. 16
12. Bourriaud, op cit, p. 18
13. ‘Early One Morning’ was at the Whitechapel Gallery, London 6 July-8 August, 2002. See http://www.whitechapel.org, JJ Charlesworth ‘Not Neo but New’ in Art Monthly, no. 259, September, 2002, Neil Mulholland, ‘Leaving Glasvegas’ in Matters, Summer 2003, issue 17, pp. 7-10.
14. Nick Evans, ‘Tired of the Soup du Jour? Some Problems with ‘New Formalism’’ in Variant, Volume 2, Number 16, Winter 2002, p. 37.
15. http://www.scottisharts.org.uk/1/information/publications/1000358.aspx. At the time of writing, rumour has it that smaller grants forming one of the last remaining lifelines for artists will be abolished by the Scottish Arts Council due to insufficient manpower in a depleted visual art department, a self-fulfilling prophecy if ever there was one.
16. Bonnar Keenlyside, Making Their Mark: An Audit of Visual Artists in Scotland (see http://www.scottisharts.org.uk/1/information/publications/1000328.aspx)
17. For a consideration of the relationship between the Art Workers’ Coalition and Institutional Critique see Fraser, op cit.
18 . See, for example, the panel ‘Precarious Producers’ at the Klartext conference in Berlin 14-16 January, 2005 http://www.klartext-konferenz.net
19 . See Greenpepper magazine Precarity issue (http://www.greenpeppermagazine.org/). Thanks to Flaxman Lodge and Jakob Jakobsen/UKK for compiling source material in the area of unions and precarity.
20. Cultural Policy Collective, Beyond Social Inclusion: Towards Cultural Democracy, 2004 (see http://www.culturaldemocracy.net)
21. In the UK, see Tessa Jowell, Government and the Value of Culture, May, 2004 (see http://www.culture.gov.uk/global/publications/archive_2004)
And the response by David Edgar, ‘Where’s the Challenge?’ in The Guardian, 22 May, 2004 which states: ‘Jowell edges uncomfortably close to a new social mission for the arts … What this leaves out – if not denies – is art’s provocative role. Through much of the past 50 years, art has been properly concerned not to cement national identity but to question it. In that, it continued the great modernist project of ‘making strange’, of disrupting rather than confirming how we see the world and our place in it’.
22. John Pilger, ‘The Great Game’ in New Rulers of the World (London: Verso, 2002) p.119
23. This was well documented by Anthony Davies and Simon Ford in their trilogy of texts, Art Capital, Art Futures and Culture Clubs (see http://www.infopool.org.uk) and by Chin Tao-wu in her book Privatising Culture: Corporate Art Intervention since the 1980s (London: Verso, 2002).
24. Anthony Davies, ‘Basic Instinct: Trauma and Retrenchment 2000-04’ in Mute, issue 29, Winter 2004. Figures are taken from a survey by Arts & Business (see http://www.aandb.org.uk/asp/uploads/uploadedfiles/1/618/ab%20reports%20on%20business%20support%20of%20the%20arts.pdf)
25. Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, Taste Buds: How to Cultivate the Art Market (London: Arts Council England, October, 2004). P. 3. (see http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/information/publication_detail.php?browse=recent&id=416)
26. See Dave Hickey, ‘The Birth of the Big, Beautiful Art Market’ in Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy (Los Angeles: Art Issues Press, 1997), p. 65:
In the early seventies, however, as these ‘new’ practices began to lose steam in the natural course of things … they were adopted by a whole new set of venues, by museums, kunsthalles, and alternative spaces across the country, first as trendy, economical exhibitions fodder for the provinces, and then as ‘official, non-commercial, anti-art’ – as part of a puritanical, haut bourgeois, institutional reaction to the increasing ‘aesthetification’ of American commerce in general.
For a critique of ‘Hickey’s analysis of contemporary art [that] hinges on a mythic image of the market system which transforms the greed that drives the capitalist accumulation into desire; a natural and even emancipatory component of human subjectivity’ see Grant Kester, ‘The world he has lost: Dave Hickey’s beauty treatment’ in Variant, Volume 2, number 18, autumn 2003, pp. 11-12.
27. Charlotte Higgins & Maev Kennedy, ‘Arts funding freeze sparks fury’, The Guardian, Tuesday December 14, 2004
28. Magnus Linklater, ‘We all get singed when a quango burns’, The Times, 15 December, 2004.
29. See http://www.culturalcommission.org.uk
30. £10,000 p.a. and £25,000 p.a. respectively over the next three years. See 2004-2006 budgets and the ‘How to Buy Art’ leaflet.
31. Currently £50,000 p.a. rising steadily to £51,500 in 2006, which represents 1.3% of the total visual arts budget (£3,975,935 in 2006).
32. Glasgow Art Fair (15-18 April, 2004) included Collective Gallery, The Embassy, EmergeD, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Lapland, Limousine Bull, Market Gallery, Switchspace and Volume.
33. ArtLink’s Agreement with artists, as seen by the author.
34. See Ben Slater, ‘Cube Culture: Exploding the frames of cinema in Bristol’ in Variant, Volume 2, number 16, winter 2002, pp. 29-30.
35. See for example Marius Babias, ‘Subject Production and Political Art Practice’, in Afterall, no 9, 2004. p. 101.
36. Tumino, op cit.
37. See Fraser, op cit. Of the descendents of Institutional Critique she writes: ‘It is not possible to evaluate the work of […] any of the artists whose work proceeds from theirs without taking into account not only the visible, visual manifestations of their practices, but also their policies; not only of the artistic positions they manifest, but also of the positions they construct for themselves within the network of relations that constitutes the fields of their activities’.
38. Miwon Kwon, ‘One Place After Another: Notes on Site-Specificity’, October, no. 80, Spring, 1997, p. 98.
39. Graw, op cit, p. 137.
40. Lind in Spin Cycle, op cit, p. 33. See also See Maria Lind, ‘Learning from Art and Artists’ in Gavin Wade ed. Curating in the 21st Century (Walsall: New Art Gallery & Wolverhampton: University, 2000)
41. See Kunstverein München Drucksache, Fall 04 supplement on collaborative practice.
42. Jeremy Rifkin, ‘Empowering the Third Sector’ in The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labour Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), p. 265
43. Rifkin, op cit, p. 247.
44. See Gardar Eide Einarsson, ‘Hard Core, self-organization and alternativity’ at http://www.societyofcontrol.com/coal/einarsson1.htm:
Contrary to most of the different experiments in alternativity and self-sustained systems in the contemporary art scene, the hardcore scene has managed to build up and maintain a functioning alternative scene outside of the more traditionally commercial music business, and has remained in control of their own output for a substantial number of years now.
45. In the interest of transparency, the author was one of the initial thirty invitees.
46. In Denmark, in response to the policies and cutbacks of the newly-elected right-wing government, the Union of Young Art Workers (UKK) was established in 2002 with a broader remit to tackle the structure and perception of contemporary art and to give artists a voice in policy-making.