Notes from charge//a practicum

Here are the things I wrote down in the sessions of charge that I went to:

W.A.G.E. – Lise Soskolne

focused on artist fees from non-profits
non-profits are charities
artist fees – bear no resemblance to the amount or value of cultural labor
you do work – should get paid

transparency & accountability around that subjective history of non-payment since 1973
MOMA retrospective of Hollis Frampton

Irresolvible contraditions commonly used for reasons of non-payment

 - engagement with an arts organization is subcontracted labor
 - getting paid is not in contradiction with criticality
 - you need cultural capital to get paid but the more cultural capital you have, the less you are thought to need pay wage certification

voluntary program that recognizes orgs that use fair payment policies

W.A.G.E. is not art. We use some tools of artists, but we were adamant and decided that it was not art.

 Artist fees are calculated based on an organization’s total expenses found on line 18 of tax form 990 - available on Foundation Center website


Alison Gerber

world of art as a job
 - artist as professional with job/career
 - artists in market contexts

four types of artists – our accounts of identity as artists
1) pecuniary account – bottom-line accounting of costs, expenses, time vs returns
2) credentialing account – art as credential, teaching, selling products/services related to art, being competent in something technical (wedding photographer, professional engineer (who was sculptor), teaching (i could always teach))
3) relational account – art as creating social good, relationships, draws on ancient ideas about art as important for a social good for artists and citizens (“instead of having a kid, we have a community”)
4) vocational account – time is transcendent, no regulated modern clock time, art world is not basis of action, only relevant actor is the self (time for myself = time for my work) (im one of those people who is always working, which is really hard financially) (fit a long held assumption that artists have to create, that art is its own reward)

individuals move synchronically and temporally between different accounts

relational and pecuniary do not co-occur
pecuniary and credentialing do not co-occur
pecuniary & vocational co-occur (dance between love & money)

commensuration – how we agree to value something in dollar terms. we agree it doesnt gauge everything but we agree to use a certain metric (ie $$$)

de-commensuration a disagreement or conflict over value

an existing field of activity (art) becomes something professional (career) art is for

– love and relationships and work and more (like plumbing)
future – draws on contemporary vision of the past

when we talk about value, we are talking not only about money, but about who we are or what is a value

federal law of taxes – business must have a “profit motive”
- but artists have been taught they make art for love not money
- professional artist, working artist, serious artist – these are fighting words
- occasional obscenity and copyright laws

but there are not many authorities to regulate the boundaries
- in the end, the auditor decides if you are an artist or not