Reading ArtIntelligence – Ceal Floyer
Artists’ livelihood strategies by: Emily Speed
So what can be learned from the way these artists manage their practices? They seem to be very level headed and business-like about their practice, but they do acknowledge that plenty of their peers persist in the image of the bohemian artist, so this may be an individual trait rather than a general one. All of the artists are very clear about the need to be organised, to be good managers, and to think about money carefully. They all express a clear desire to make a living from art and are very open about the commercial side of their practices and other work they may undertake. There is also little desire to compromise; they are flexible in their approach to work, but the quality of projects is valued more highly than income by all four. Often, an artist’s work is invested with a lot of emotion and is therefore tied up with the personal need to succeed. This can mean that recognition or gaining credibility is more important to a lot of artists than earning money and it is then difficult to separate the economics of practice from the personal. I was impressed by the ability of these artists to see their own situations so clearly.
I think, in general, that these four artists accept that not everything they dislike about the art world can be changed by them as an individual, but they are not afraid to ask for money, stand up for their rights or negotiate their position when necessary. Jens Sundheim, for example, insisted on payment when having his work collected by a museum and Clemens Kogler sued his employer after they published images not agreed in their contract.
MASS: a group exhibition at Dutch Design Week 2011 in Eindhoven, examines how designers are taking a critical approach to mass production. Equipped with individualized tools and technologies, they respond to established fabrication systems by taking on not only form, but the methods and materials used to manufacture work.
( soundtrack: wu-tang clan)
picture: Roman Signer