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Posted inNews

Is it Time to Blow Up the Art Fair Model?

Occupy Museums thinks the art fair model needs to be reworked. Occupy Wall Street’s art offshoot has announced a new initiative, DebtFair, which seeks to radically deconstruct the commercial art fair. After essentially sunning themselves in a distant corner of Frieze New York last May, distributing flyers for Un-Frieze and other protest literature, the activists have decided to go for a more radical overthrow of the heavily commodified fair model. Whether or not this alternative has legs remains to be seen.

Posted inArt

A Clear Set of Demands: How to Be a Constituency of Artists

So far this year I’ve been to two different events that highlight different but related approaches to political organizing among artists here in New York. Just to clarify what I mean by organizing — literally bringing individual artists together into a larger community that can advocate for and create political change around some of the more pressing issues facing independent artists in the city (unstable housing, irregular employment, healthcare, etc), issues which many other groups in the city also face.

Posted inArt

Recovering the History of the Puerto Rican Art Workers’ Coalition

A few times during her talk last week, historian and curator Yasmin Ramírez looked over at the copy of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era by Julia Bryan-Wilson sitting on the table in front of her. It wasn’t a look of love. Each time she referenced the book it was, at least in part, with a sense of frustration that despite being one of the only books devoted to the subject of the Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC), Bryan-Wilson largely left out the involvement of black and Puerto Rican artists, who played critical roles in the efforts of the group.

Posted inArt

The Return of Occupy

On November 9, the New York Times published an article titled “Occupy Sandy: A Movement Moves to Relief.” The URL for the story, which presumably reflects either an alternate or an original headline for the story, offers a slightly more pointed take: “Where FEMA Fell Short, Occupy Sandy Was There.” And that sums up, I think, what many New Yorkers have found in the last three weeks of Hurricane Sandy relief: that the big, bureaucratic organizations and government agencies traditionally associated with emergency relief have been maddeningly limited, while Occupy Sandy, the latest arm of Occupy Wall Street that sprung up right after the storm, seems to be unendingly effective.

Posted inArt

What Is the Labor of Art Writing? (Part 1)

Last Thursday night at Housing Works Bookstore, Occupy Wall Street affinity group Arts & Labor organized a panel of New York art writers to discuss the labor of art criticism. Village Voice and New York Times critic Martha Schwendener opened the round table with the question, “What is the labor of writing?” Schwendener and Arts and Labor proposed a discussion about the working conditions of art criticism in an effort to dispel some prevailing myths, which she framed as power, authority, and allure. She then started things off with an open question to the panel about how they became art critics.

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