...Is This Free?
This book was published in conjunction with the group exhibition ...Is This Free?, curated by Marco Antonini and featuring in- and off- site sections curated by Megan Snowe and Rachel Steinberg. The exhibition took place at NURTUREart Non Profit, Inc., Brooklyn, NY during the summer of 2012.
Book Concept, Design and Editing: Marco Antonini All Images and texts: courtesy the writers and artists. ISBN-10: 0615661548 ISBN-13: 978-0-615-66154-4 Thanks to Sean Alday, Connor Calhoun, Alma Egger, Doris Guo, Adriana Rabinovitch, Emily Reese, Joana Ricou, Naomi Edmondson and all NURTUREart volunteers; Harrell Fletcher, Piero Frassinelli, James Jenkin, Daniela Kostova, Daniela Pondeva, Carola and Juergen Fiedler for their help, feedback and/or generosity. A special thank you to all the volunteers who shared their knowledge during Lawn School. Last but not least, our sincere gratitude goes to NURTUREartâ€™s Board of Trustees and Advisory Board, and to all public and private supporters and friends. NURTUREart Non-Profit Inc. is a 501(c)(3) New York State licensed, federally tax-exempt charitable art organization founded in 1997 by George J. Robinson. NURTUREart is funded in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, City Council Member Diana Reyna, City Council Member Stephen Levin, the Greenwall Foundation, the Greenwich Collection, the Harold and Colene Brown Foundation, the Leibovitz Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York City Department of Education, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason Foundation and generous individuals. It receives legal support from Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. 3
Artworks, Ephemera, Publications, Texts:
Marco Antonini Carrie Dashow Pablo Helguera Steve Lambert Cesare Pietroiusti Paul Ramirez Jonas Megan Snowe Rachel Steinberg Elaine Tin Nyo Brad Troemel Amy Whitaker Caroline Woolard
Lotte Van Den Audenaeren Becca Albee Bureau d’Etudes Shinsuke Aso Daniel Bejar Cody Castro Carrie Dashow Detext Eric Doeringer Don Edler Emcee CM Harrell Fletcher Symrin Gill Felix Gonzales-Torres Lawn School Faculty: Jenny Holzer the KLF Marie Lorenz and Jeff Williams Vikenti Komitsi Whitni Roche Keith Haring Lee Tusman Jenny Holzer Keith Schweitzer Enzo Mari Whitney Richardson Bruce Nauman Amy Whitaker Steve Lambert/YesMen Ed Woodham Cesare Pietroiusti Daniel Palmer Yoko Ono Todd Shalom Daniel Seiple Elizabeth Smolarz Solarring.org Superflex Radek Szlaga and Honza Zamojski Elaine Tin Nyo Julie Torres Brad Troemel Jiří Thýn Patrick Tuttofuoco Lawrence Weiner and others 4
Foreword Marco Antonini Within certain limits gift wealth may be rationalized and market wealth may be eroticized (...) the problem is not “can gift and commodity coexist?”, but “to what degree may one draw from the other without destroying it?” Lewis Hyde, The Gift.
Can Art really be Free? The answer to this question, the opening line in a document shared with all those who generously contributed to this publication, was often a positive “Yes”; nonetheless, the diversity of trajectories followed by each reply (and the wealth of opinions, ideas and conversations they spanned in and outside this book) were revealing of the many ways in which gifts and all things “Free,” are conceived and perceived. In English, the word “Free” is per-se double-sided, suggesting availability and gratuity while also evoking freedom, the state of being free, whether on an existential level or as in something or someone liberated from restrictive bonds. As Ted Purves has remarked, the study of gift economies (pioneered by Marcel Mauss’ 1923 Essai Sur le Don and expanded by Lewis Hyde’s The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, in 1983) teaches us that gifts are neither free, nor the product of generosity. Whoever has received something and then, consciously or subconsciously felt obliged to reciprocate knows that gifts are in fact offers, they produce bonds; in Purves’ words, they are “a token through which social relationships are forged, managed and preserved.”1 Taking cues from Mauss, Hyde, Purves and others, we can easily move beyond anthropological research, extending a reflection on gifts and gift economies to address examples culled from the visual, performance 5
and relational arts. Contemporary artists are in a privileged position to reflect on the many different meanings that alternative exchange, liberated goods and gift can assume. In art, such meanings tend to respond to the specific contexts they coexist with. There are modes of giving characterized by “dispersion” acts where goods, services, money are donated (or symbolically repurposed, and even destroyed) in conformity with the values of emotionally neutral financial transactions. This sense of neutrality also lingers in artworks and publications that use the “Free” format simply as an effective tool of dissemination and, ultimately, self-promotion, leaving little room for consideration on its deeper meanings. On a whole different plane, works of art involving gifts and/or alternative forms of exchange can engender progressive, if not utopian, ideals, and be used as examples, aimed at increasing our awareness of the relevance of our everyday actions. Around the beginning of last autumn I started reading Olaf Velthius’ amazing little book Imaginary Economics, and I found myself intrigued by the dynamics of both conventional and unconventional economies, noting how many new art projects around us adopted generosity either in direct (free art, free information, free products) or symbolic ways. Velthius’ take on the relationship between art and the economic world is informed by his formal education in economics but never lacks empathy for art’s more intangible, auratic assets. Introducing a chapter dedicated to the importance of play and fiction in human economics Velthius muses: “Does the economy really need the support of artists? Society is already so highly determined by the pursuit of usefulness, efficiency and economic growth that it may be better to preserve a realm in which the useless and the selfless prevail.”2 Whether or not coexisting, both uselessness and selflessness are core values for many of the works presented in this exhibition, which span from the late sixties to present day. Many visions of free art 6
coexist here, in a panoramic display of attitudes, strategies, questions and answers that will be presented as a progressive accumulation of materials, in three distinct openings during the course of this summer. Although involved with the same subject matter, the artworks in (and sometimes created for) ...Is This Free? manage to represent a full spectrum of attitudes: from poetic, “Free” minded flanerie to politically committed statements, to light-handed, optimistic gestures all the way up (or down, if you prefer) to questionable instances of appropriation and semi-illegal boutades that we ourselves, in our role of hosting institution, have encouraged or even initiated, in an effort to explore the full potential and social life of free objects and ideas. This book is published in the event of the first opening of the ...Is This Free? series and collects a series of interviews and email exchanges prompted by a questionnaire sent to artists, writers, curators and various cultural operators. The proposed questions and conversation starters strived to be as open minded as possible and in fact succeeded at provoking all sorts of replies. The wealth of ideas that we were exposed to and to which the whole exhibition project is indebted is now available to you as well. Enjoy the read and see you at NURTUREart for one of the upcoming openings and events in ...Is This Free?’s rich summer calendar.
Ted Purves, “Blows against the empire,” in What We Want Is Free:
Generosity and exchange in recent art (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005),31. 2
Olaf Velthius, Imaginary Economics: Contemporary Artists and the
World of Big Money (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2005),104. 7
Enzo Mariâ€™s design for one of the chairs in his Proposta per unâ€™autoprogettazione manual, first published by the Duchamp center, Galleria Milano in 1974. 8
PDE (Public Displays of Education) Megan Snowe and Rachel Steinberg
For NURTUREart’s summer 2012 program and in the spirit of alternative education we have organized Lawn School - a weekly series of free classes, lectures, discussions and workshops that occur in public parks and spaces throughout New York City, and ...Can I Take This?, a rotating library of free publications. We want to take this opportunity to talk about the word FREE in the framework of what we experience as education. The idea of free education is not new, it is something that anyone can start and continue. To us, the sharing of skills and ideas represents one of the most basic ways to interact with our own communities and the world around us. Examples of replicable, open source education models offer direct proof of the importance of these ideas, from recent endeavors such as: Trade School, Public School, Occupy University, Free School, School of Walls and Space, and the not-so-recent Teach -ins of the mid-1960s, the writings of Colin Ward, Hakim Bey, and The Diggers. Within the realm of education, the distinctions that we want to talk about exist between public and private, cost versus expense-less, and the idea of reclaiming as ours what we already experience. As organizers of the alternative education programs, Lawn School and ...Can I Take This? this presents difficult questions about how we operate and learn together what we share, where we share and how we share it. We have thus broken it down into three sub-meanings: space, cost and liberation (from assumed value and structure). These elements cannot be fully separated, only isolated in order to discuss the myriad of ways in which the concept of “free” influences our perceptions and therefore our decisions. 9
FREE = VACANT
“The TAZ [Temporary Autonomous Zone] is “utopian” in the sense that it envisions an intensification of everyday life, or as the Surrealists might have said, life’s penetration by the Marvelous. But it cannot be utopian in the actual meaning of the word, nowhere, or NoPlace Place. The TAZ is somewhere.” * By this point we feel it is well understood that public spaces (even in a jam packed city like NYC), are under-utilized, and their potential way exceeds their current state. Coupled with the ever shrinking public sphere in NYC there is simultaneously a problem of exclusivity within education systems. How can we, as educators and a learning public, fuse theoretical “learning spaces” with our pragmatic, everyday environments? To create an opportunity to learn comprehensively while actively aware of the social spaces outside of a classroom, we need to talk about these things in public, and identify potentialities nested in these vacant spaces. “Vacant” in this case is empty and ready to be filled.
FREE = COST-LESS
“Money is a lie--this adventure must be feasible without it--booty & pillage should be spent before it turns back into dust.” * Speaking specifically from the perspective of the United States, our system of higher education needs to be re-valuated. As it stands now, higher education is directly tied to socio-economic security. We realize that small scale open source education projects like Lawn School and Can I Take This? do not necessarily present a viable alternative to the massive structure currently in place, but they do offer a symbolic alternative. Symbols as tools should not be underestimated. We want to open up the idea that 10
we can break dependence on large institutions and the education industrial complex, and still facilitate active learning. Learning should equal time, not money spent.
FREE = LIBERATED
“Psychological liberation. That is, we must realize (make real) the moments and spaces in which freedom is not only possible but actual.” * Education, like art, is an exchange, not to be confused with monetary transaction. When this happens it is usually through a conversation, discourse or discussion between peers on a neutral level. Public space has the potential to provide a horizontal place where all involved are temporarily released from the assumed hierarchy of an institution. The point is not to overhaul or solve these complex problems, rather explore the opportunity for a public to gather, challenge these issues together in public space with curiosity and skills. Education is and should be an experiment and should respond to needs directly connected to whatever environment learners are working in. In reality, we present this ideal as an exercise and it is unreasonable to assume that everyone will take an active role in breaking down assumed bonds. The hope is that we will all take small steps toward increasing access to shared resources and education, toward a more “liberated” and free society.
*All quotations: Hakim Bey, T. A. Z. The Temporary Autonomous Zone,
Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism, Anti-Copyright, 1985. 11
Cover page of the San Francisco Diggersâ€™ Kaliflower, Vol. 1, Issue #2, May 1, 1969.. 12
Shinsuke Aso, Think, Rethink (detail) 2003. Mixed media. 14
Carrie Dashow Pablo Helguera Steve Lambert Cesare Pietroiusti Paul Ramirez Jonas Elaine Tin Nyo Brad Troemel Amy Whitaker Caroline Woolard
Carrie Dashow Can Art really be Free?
Free means you are a part of the world, not apart from it. In order to have a culture where we can give, our culture has to be valued. Here it is not. The individual is valued over the many. Which comes 1st is the next question. Do we create the freedom as if we have it (build it, they will come) or wait for it to happen to give? Both build upon each other, and in generosity we cannot expect back. It’s just... why art?... In other words, yes, art should be free, as the world, air, water and that which grows should. To foster this world we can all do our part, if we get what we need to live and if the culture we are in holds value for our inner and outer worlds –or any word at all– rather than the commodification of culture.
“Where we reckon our substance by acquisitions, the gifts of the gifted man are powerless to make him substantial” Lewis Hyde, The Gift
Who owns a work of art, once
One could think that by giving we actually grow bigger. If art is free, the better definition is that it can go anywhere, not to one place. Free as in it is free
it is freely distributed and
At what cost do creative ideas exist (and thrive) as acts of generosity? /
supposedly liberated from commercial interests? >
Should we not ask then, what does it mean to own something. What it is to own something, which seems 17
to mean: something belongs to one person. What if, actually, our identity becomes larger by not having ownership, that by sharing together something is ours and moves beyond the boundary of an individual. Once owned, the art loses dynamo, it is only directed to its captor. If we think that art is not necessarily originated in the ego-ful mind of the artist, but is plucked from the space around, either as a cultural product and spiritual medium, then art itself is common space. The one who holds art is constipated, grows fat and though the food is delicious, has a tummy ache. Perhaps though like the ancient mounds of the indigenous Americans, we can perform a caesarean and once again return these jewels into the flow. In English, the word “Free” has a double meaning (both “up for grabs” and “liberated”)… do you think that alternative exchange and gift can somehow facilitate freedom (of expression, freedom from socio-economic structures etc.)?
Alternative exchange and gift can facilitate a different culture than that of self ownership we give merit to. The less we want from that which we give, the more we can give to a larger whole without asking for a specific return rather knowing that we are part of this whole, the free-er form the specifics of individuality our culture merits. Less that one just takes, but is aware beyond the middle station of money, we are then aware of each other, but more importantly that we are part of a system together. And while it is true that as we give to it this collaborative system gives back, what we
get back becomes less specific, and the system itself grows beyond the sum of its parts. This indeed grows a better environment and culture, one with less medium, one with more you and I in space together. To you, what is an act of generosity in art? What societal potential does it have?
I believe that generosity itself is massively important for societal potential, but why art? Is it more or less important than baking bread? Or, because of the fact that we can indebt art with spiritual connotation, a connection to a greater level of consciousness, then giving it away would seed this... I guess I am hesitant in saying that art itself should be any more free than anything else. In our structure of commodification and ownership people seem to value things less when they are free. But if they have to give something themselves, time, effort, something they did, not because the artist needs it, but to show value and balance with what our culture places value on. We must re-evaluate what â€œvalueâ€? means. Passing through Salt Lake City, I went to a free restaurant, all the effort the diverse customers and the feeling of the food being made with this generosity moved me, so I want to give more in return. In creating a free structure, the level of trust in the work, audience and culture must either be greater. I am not sure I or we are there yet, but am willing to work to make a culture that redefines its value systems. 19
Carrie Dashow is a NYC-based interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of video, performance, new media and visual arts. Her often participatory work ranges from community and history-based projects to examinations of the undercurrents of authority and subjectivity, and is characterized by an indebted relationship to location. The resulting combinations of performance, video, books, structures and songs involve the audience in a tactile, truer-than-true experience, providing the opportunity for re-negotiation. Much of her work takes place in social and collective situations, either on the street, in communities, galleries or classes. Carrie’s current project, as included in her “Municipal Works” series, Yesiree the Public Notary, is an official New York State Notary and civic engager. Yesiree specializes in Oaths, Affirmations and Acknowledgements, as well as more existential quandaries. With an MFA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Integrated Electronic Art and a BFA in New Genres from The San Francisco Art Institute, Carrie has received support from city, state, federal and private funding agencies, including New York State Council on the Arts, Rockefeller, Jerome Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has been exhibited internationally, locally, in mines, public parks, campgrounds, campervans, her living room and the internet. She currently teaches video part-time in NYC. 20
Carrie Dashow, Yesiree, the Public Notary, 2012. Legal manifestations/ public performances throughout October at the Zuccotti Park Occupy Wall Street encampment, New York. 22
Pablo Helguera: Can Art really be Free?
Absolutely. We are surrounded by free art. The architecture of cities, public art in them, popular art and art from previous eras, anonymous music. The Internet has made thousands, if not millions of volumes readily available to all of us to read. Conceptual art is, in essence, free art.
At what cost do creative
I think we need to be careful when we speak about “cost” when talking about creativity, as there are different ways of understanding value when we speak about art making – which is what I assume we are doing. The following statement is hidden within this question: “creative ideas exist and thrive as acts of generosity, but at a certain cost.” It is not clear at the cost of whom, but I will assume we mean the person that has the idea. I suppose that if I want to make a profit from my ideas and I think of a creative idea that has the potential to make money, I may think twice before sharing it with others, as they may “steal” it. But the problem with the statement is that it limits the creative act to an entrepreneurial or business gesture – a rather crass way to understand creativity. Actually, creative ideas that are originated mainly with profit in mind tend to derive in the most commercial,
ideas exist (and thrive) as acts of generosity?
probably profitable, but ultimately, inconsequential, ventures. Truly transformative ideas in art obey a much more complex type of economy based in the communication between people with mutual interests and understanding. To say that we are being “generous” to each other misinterprets the nature of the process of exchange, which is disinterested and spontaneous at the time when it takes place. It is not that Picasso shared an idea with Braque, or that de Kooning stole a good tip from a fellow artist; it is that at different times and places there is an environment of exchanges that benefits all those who participate in it, and creative ideas emerge organically from such chemistry of communication. Who owns a work of art, once it is freely distributed and supposedly liberated from commercial interests?
Do you think that alternative exchange and/or gift can somehow facilitate freedom (of expression, freedom from socio-economic structures etc.)?
Copyright law is a technicality that doesn’t change the nature of how an artwork relates to all of us. Once a work becomes public, it belongs to the public. The word “exchange” means that there are two parties involved, ostensibly negotiating the conditions of mutual giving. This is important to note because that process of negotiation is not really, in it of itself, an act of freedom. That is, one engages in it freely, but ultimately it is an agreement where you accept parting with something so that you receive something else. In other words,
the act of exchange is in itself a type of socioeconomic model, even if no money is involved. In 2008 I created a project entitled The Free Art Gallery where I decided to give my work away for free to whomever wanted it the most. I hired gallery representatives that would present the works to the public at an art fair. The public would need to write a text arguing as to why they should be the rightful recipients of the free work, and the best text would be awarded the piece. So in this case a viewer would be given an artwork at no cost, but she or he would have contributed in an exchange where they articulated their interests, which to me was enough to give the work. One may ask why didn’t I simply give the work away to the first person who walked by. The answer is that I realized that giving art away for free is, in a way, an act of making it invisible in the collective psychology of our day – for better or worse, people think that “free” means “worthless.” When you create the conditions for people to reflect on the work, an interest can develop and then an eagerness to own it.
Pablo Helguera is a New York based artist working with installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, socially engaged art and performance. Helguera has worked since 1991 in a variety of contemporary art museums, most recently as head of public programs at the Education department of the Guggenheim Museum in New York (1998-2005). Since 2007, he is Director of Adult and Academic programs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2010 he was appointed pedagogical curator of the 8th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil, which took place in September, 2011. He is currently Senior Resident of Location One in New York and will be presenting a solo exhibition at Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City in 2012. 25
Pablo Helguera, Zagat,(detail), 1999. 26
Steve Lambert To you, what is an act of generosity in art? What societal potential does it have?
Can you make an example of an artwork or initiative based on free exchange or generosity that positively impressed you in recent times?
All art is an act of generosity, some more than others. Itâ€™s what makes a society. Once a few thousand years have passed, who cares about anything else produced by societies? I was transferring subway trains late at night and walking through the station down a flight of steps. I noticed a man about 20-30 years older than me start to lose his footing. It was one of those things that happened in a split second but felt slow and effortless. He started to fall and I instinctively reached down in front of me as if it were a glass falling from a counter. Just as he tipped backwards, his upper back landed right in my hands and I gently lifted him forward. He continued down the steps, turned his head slightly and nodded, we had no other interaction. I know, itâ€™s not that exciting a story. But it did positively impress me and I still think about it now and again. I imagine myself in his position. I wonder if he knew how close he came to tumbling down those steps. But more than anything I remember that if I start to fall, someone, coming seemingly from nowhere, will right me. And for them it will be the simplest, most everyday and natural response. 27
What are the major differences you see between the 60s/70s approach to free exchange
We keep trying new things that fit in contemporary culture. And we should keep recalibrating ourselves.
in art as opposed to (say) projects from the 90s and, ultimately, today’s projects? Was something lost (or gained) along the years? How has the concept of ownership changed since the revolutionary impact of open source software, creative commons
All civilization is built on sharing. Our culture is built through sharing. We’re getting back to our humanity, prior to the time when capital was imposed on sharing.
copyright licenses, peer to peer networks etc.? What other factors could contribute to its re-definition?
Steve Lambert made international news after the 2008 US election with The New York Times “Special Edition,” a replica of the “paper of record” announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other good news. He has collaborated with groups from the Yes Men to the Graffiti Research Lab and Greenpeace. He is also the founder of the Center for Artistic Activism, the Anti-Advertising Agency, Add-Art (a Firefox add-on that replaces online advertising with art) and SelfControl (which blocks grownups from distracting websites so they can get work done). Lambert’s work has been shown everywhere from museums to protest marches nationally and internationally, featured in over fourteen books, four documentary films, and is in the collections of The Sheldon Museum, the Progressive Insurance Company, and The Library of Congress. Lambert has discussed his work live on NPR, the BBC, and CNN, and been reported on internationally in outlets including Associated Press, the New York Times, the Guardian, Harper’s Magazine, The Believer, Good, Dwell, ARTnews and Newsweek. Steve is a perpetual autodidact with (if it matters) advanced degrees from a reputable art school and respected state university. He dropped out of high school in 1993. 28
Cesare Pietroiusti: Can Art really be Free?
I am not sure if a single artwork, when something is defined as such, can be “free,” probably not, because a definition is already a limitation of possibilities, and freedom needs possibilities in order to exist. “Free,” to me, is maybe not so much something that is given away with no money in exchange; rather, it is the quality of a human action that demonstrates (or shows) that rules such as those that govern economic transactions in a market society, and norms such as those that dictate the modalities in which different economic elements are determined, can be used or played in a different ways. What I try to do is to show some of such ways. Money itself can become a good, on sale in exchange for the customer’s gaze; banknotes can be eaten at the end of an auction and then, once recuperated from excrement, given back to the successful bidder; valuable artworks can be sold in exchange for the best visitors’ ideas; drawings can be produced by tens of thousands and given away for free etc. In a way, it’s like inventing new games, and therefore showing that the normal rules – considered “objective” or “true” by the economic and legal status quo – are nothing else than games 29
themselves. To me, art reveals that rules, norms, ideologies and faiths are actually games; it does so by experimenting new possibilities, creating new “planes of immanence” whereas there were transcendental and absolute norms. In a way, I think that there’s nothing more “free” than this. If I distribute thousands of drawings at an exhibition, my intention is not so much that of democratizing the access to the otherwise elitist contemporary art, but rather that of creating paradoxical situations where usual habits and ways of thinking are challenged. I am interested in using the idea of “free distribution” to create a new game – that of a “transient possession” where every new holder of these drawings has to eventually, and under certain conditions, give it away. I think that such conditions can facilitate forms of awareness and critical views on relations, hierarchies, psychological levels of interaction, complex or contradictory forms of desire (including that for possessing an artwork) and power.
Cesare Pietroiusti’s art practice focuses on problematic and paradoxical situations that are hidden in common relationships and in ordinary acts – thoughts that come to mind without a reason, small concerns, quasi-obsessions that are usually considered too insignificant to become a matter of discussion or self-representation. In 1994 Pietroiusti was available to do “useful” things for anyone of the audience who would make a request: he walked dogs, gave shots, cleaned out cellars, and more. In 1997 he published Non Functional Thoughts (ed. Morra, Napoli), a small book containing approximately one hundred useless, parasite or incongruous ideas to be realized as art projects by anyone. Some of these ideas have been executed by artists and curators, such as for the exhibition “Democracy!” (London, 2000). In the last few years Pietroiusti mostly concentrated on the topic of the exchange, and on the paradoxes that arise in the folds of economic systems and rules. Starting from 2004 he irreversibly transformed banknotes given to him by other people; distributed thousands of drawings (always unique pieces, individually numbered and signed) for free; sold stories; swallowed banknotes at the end of an auction and subsequently gave them back to the successful bidder after they had been defecated and cleaned; opened a shop where the goods for sale are banknotes and the currency used to purchase them is the customer’s gaze; set up shows where the artworks are for sale not in exchange of money, but of the best visitor’s ideas, comments, or proposals. (www.nonfunctionalthoughts.net) 31
Cesare Pietroiusti, Untitled (Transient Possession) (ink preparation and finished piece detail), 2012. Flower-based ink on paper. 32
Paul Ramirez Jonas: Jean Luc Godard said that â€œit takes two to make an imageâ€?. I assume, he was referring to cinema and perhaps still pictures as well. I would safely take the liberty of expanding the reading of this quote to mean it takes two to make an artwork. It is important to understand that while Godard speaks of two, there are in actuality three protagonists implied in his equation: an artist, a viewer and the artwork between them. In this equation, as in all equations, the variables can easily be changed to hold different values, as long as the relationship between them and the final outcome of the formula is not altered: author-text-reader or performer-score-listener or actorplay-spectator or sender-messagereceiver can all apply to the postulation that it takes two to make an image. In other words, this relationship could include any permutation of author-art-public, as long as it is acknowledged that the relationship has been re-cast to undermine hierarchies that values one player over the other. Are we thinking of free in the positive sense, as in being free to be part of this contract? Or are we thinking of art being free in the negative sense, as in being free from this contract? Or are we merely thinking of the monetary value of art in this equation? Per33
sonally, I do not believe that art can be free from this contract; on the other hand any art, author or public is free to be part of this contract. I may be idealistic, but the issue of ownership seems irrelevant to the dynamics of this agreement. So my simple answer is that anyone is free to be one of the two “that make an image”.
tions include Pinacoteca do Estado, Sao Paulo, Brazil; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; a survey at Ikon Gallery (UK) and Cornerhouse (UK); Alexander Gray Gallery (NYC); Roger Björkholmen (Sweden); Nara Roesler Gallery (Brazil); and Postmasters Gallery; (NYC). He has been included in group exhibitions at P.S.1 (NYC); The Whitechapel (UK); Irish Museum of Modern Art (Ireland); The New Museum (NYC); and Kunsthaus Zurich (Switzerland). He has participated in the Johannesburg Biennale; the Seoul Biennial, the Shanghai Biennial; the 28th Sao Paulo Biennial; the 53rd Venice Biennial and the 7th Bienal do Mercosul Porto Alegre, Brazil. In 2010 his Key to the City project was presented by Creative Time in cooperation with the City of New York. He was appointed as an assistant professor at Hunter College in 2007. 34
Paul Ramirez Jonas, The Commons, 2010. Installation at the Pinacoteca Do Estado, Sao Paulo, Brazil. 36
Elaine Tin Nyo: Ode to Not Having I love you. I tender myself to you Like a claw-footed tub of warm honey. When you climb out of me, I’ll cling to you Softening your skin with the sweat of bees And the sex of flowers.
You own me. You take in my honey-glossed Hair clinging, swinging and slapping your face With linden-scented treacle which we would Spread on toasted, buttered crumpets, if we Had them. But we do not.
We close our eyes. Now it is everywhere With us, hand-warmed nuggets of slick amber In our pockets, the blowing and sucking Tingling current on our skin, the windows To the rooms we furnish.
Read this poem again. This time replace the word “honey” with “money”.
Elaine Tin Nyoâ€™s family came to the US when she was seven as political exiles. Her mother and grandfather were political activists in Burma and great cooks at home. Growing up, appetite and politics were the same; the kitchen table both nourished and hatched plots. As such, food became a defining structure in her interaction with the world. Elaine has kept a studio and kitchen in New York since 1984. She received a BFA in Painting from Carnegie Mellon University. Her culinary education consists of the voracious study of cookbooks and practical experience alongside professional chefs and artisans around the world. She has cooked, performed and exhibited internationally. At the core of her practice is the investigation of how visceral experiences (such as eating) define us. Her work explores the intersection of responsibility and sensuality. In the name of art, she has danced with strangers at a Harley-Davidson dealership; stood knee-high in fermenting skate in Korea; raised 10,000 worms to make soil in her apartment; and lived in a tipi on a frozen lakeâ€Ś and lived to tell about it. Currently, she is exploring the poetics of the cheese making and meat curing, and is hoping to discuss classical verse with butchers whenever possible. 38
Brad Troemel: Can Art really be Free?
Anyone with the ability to enter a public library and use a computer can see a near-infinite number of art images and writing posted online. The question of “freedom” relative to art is most often framed in this way – whether or not an imagined public can view and reap the psychic benefits from an experience with art without needing to pay for it. In framing the question of art’s freedom as being a matter of viewing access there’s a hint embodied as to what we believe the most important aspect of art’s existence is: the ability to see it. I tend to consider the creation of art as equally important; it is this act of creation, after all, that allows people to see the work. There’s also an inherent value to committing creative acts without a direct economic incentive to do so, to meander in aesthetic curiosity, to exercise intellectual muscles that give human life a sense of richness and beauty that an otherwise totalizing concept of pure economic productivity threatens to make extinct. In this way I wonder how much freer the act of art’s production can be? I’m as excited by the Internet’s potential to open viewing borders for art images and writing as I am for the Internet to dissolve historical conventions associated with the production of art, namely 39
the necessity of reporting authorship, the necessity of art being a form of personal property, and the necessity of art being viewed in contexts that preemptively establish its status as art. For art to take on even more forms, for it to be made by many people collectively, for it to be used in new ways for new audiences, for it to directly intervene in the world it makes commentary on – these are freedoms on the level of envisioning a new definition for art rather than an expanded audience for it. Perhaps these two last goals are not mutually exclusive. Who owns a work of art, once it is freely distributed and supposedly liberated from commercial interests?
Everyone owns it. This is a hard idea to get through people’s heads because when we think of collective ownership it is most often associated with two forms of physical, collective ownership: the commons and communism. Our natural resources – air, water, land – are examples of the commons that we inherited and have went on to destroy due to our reckless shortterm thinking in regards to environmental safety. Communism’s rationed, apportioned version of ownership standardizes property relations and represses a sense of individuality in favor of equality. The ownership of digital images is ubiquitous and allows all participants the ability to alter their property without destroying the original or limiting the use of others to do what they will with
their version of the art. This holds true for 1960’s conceptual works that existed as open-ended statements (“Draw a straight line into infinity,”) just as it does for digital images today. Unlike physical goods, both ideas and images are infinitely malleable resources that may be easily transmitted. What is an act of generosity in art? What societal potential does it have?
What do you see as major contributing factors to the return to free exchange, no cost and low impact projects? In what ways can these current attitudes and strategies translate in art world initiatives? (or vice versa?)
An act of artistic generosity would mean to give something to the discourse of art, something that it previously has never dealt with, to open new possibilities and ask new questions. An act of artistic selfishness would be to use the conventions of art cynically, to shamelessly emulate standards old or new to one’s own end for attention or reward. Art that takes risks is always an act of generosity because it makes room for the future. I think the reason people are doing a lot of things for free is because no one is willing to pay them. When I lived in Chicago there was a dense community of apartment galleries run by students and recent graduates of SAIC. Practically every weekend there would be a new round of openings featuring community members. I don’t think the young people of Chicago were wildly altruistic, if anything they were more self-interestedly ambitious than other young Americans attending famous art schools. The apartment gallery scene rose from the 41
absence of collectors in Chicago, especially collectors interested in young people’s work and thus galleries that showed that work. In an essay titled “The Minor League” (2010) I described how small, intimately connected creative communities have a tendency of electing certain leaders among themselves through informal means, and how these leaders are often placed in a position for mainstream success as de-facto representatives of their cultural faction in the art world. In other words, I think free labor is unsustainable in the long term, but for those who are the most ambitious (and some who are just lucky) free labor can be leveraged in to a paying job.
Can you make an example of an artwork or initiative based on alternative exchange or generosity that positively impressed you in recent times?
I’m impressed so many people are willing to allow Facebook and Google to monetize their actions without asking for anything in return. The number of people who passively use those platforms is astounding. Through those companies I attempt to meet people I otherwise wouldn’t, maintain connections with old friends, advertise myself, max out my free storage capacity, etc. Similarly, every month I buy a transportation pass for $104 from the MTA. Every month I try to ride the train or bus more than 42 times total to make my money back and then some.
What are the major differences you see between the 60s/70s approach to free exchange in art as opposed to (say) projects from the 90s and, ultimately, today’s projects? Was something lost (or gained) along the years?
The act of giving in an artistic context has, as Andrea Fraser would say, gone from a critique of institutions to an institution of critique. What was formerly a gesture meant to dissolve borders between author and viewer or to malign the class structures of who could own art has been whole-heartedly accepted by institutions as an extension of spectaclist strategies employed by museums eager to sell tickets. Robert Morris’ 1971 Tate exhibition had to be shut down because people were hurting themselves jumping off minimalist sculptures – how great! In the New Museum I was made to wear a helmet and sign a lengthy legal document prior to being able to “participate” in an exhibition by Carsten Holler. I don’t think the gesture of endlessly giving something to an art audience for the sheer sake of their own consumption (here is a poster, here is some candy, here is some soup) as being particularly radical, if anything it seems to be an idealized version of an economy full of passive consumers whose hunger for new, unnecessary things is insatiable. If something is to be given away the viewer should risk something in that process of consumption. I like participatory art insofar as it is a trade off between the artist and viewer, not a mama bird feeding pre-digested food into her baby’s mouth and calling it a meal. 43
How has the concept of ownership changed since the revolutionary impact of open source software, Creative Commons copyright licenses, peer to peer networks etc.? What other factors could contribute to its redefinition?
Concepts and programs like Creative Commons and BitTorrent have done an excellent job providing an alternate narrative for generosity, changing it from being something that is piously altruistic to mutually beneficial. Part of generosity’s moral high ground used to be the fact than in giving ownership away you would be losing something. But when, in the case of BitTorrent for instance, your willingness to give has a direct impact on what you receive people tend to be far more generous. This may not fit the original conception of generosity, but it is certainly effective and maintains generosity’s end game of getting people to be more open about sharing with each other.
Brad Troemel is a writer, artist, and instructor living in New York. As a writer his work focuses on the intersection of art and social media, showing the ways the internet both challenges and affirms historical conventions of art making. In the past two years Troemel has delivered lectures at the Queens Museum of Art, Eyebeam, PS1 MoMA, The New School, New York University, The Royal Academie of Art, Willem de Kooning Academy, RISD, Concordia University, University of Illinois Chicago, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2011 he published his first book, titled Peer Pressure, as a collection of essays published through various journals and magazines. He is a staff writer for Dis Magazine. As an artist Troemel’s most recent work makes use of anonymous online black markets, positioning the consumption of contraband purchased online as an aestheticized and temporary form of autonomy. He is presently a part-time faculty member in the art department at NYU. Friend request or e-mail him, he’d be happy to talk to you. www.bradtroemel.com 44
Brad Troemel, Silk Road Objects, 2012. Details from Bumper Key, Fake ID, 2c., 18c. 46
Amy Whitaker: Can Art really be Free?
I believe that Joseph Beuys was right that everyone is an artist, but everyone is a businessperson too. If an artist is making work for free, they are somehow supporting themselves in the market economy otherwise. This means that the work isn’t “free” so much as it is a gift. That kind of generosity—of putting work out into the world but not being paid directly for it—seems at the core of what it is to make an artistic gesture. That act of resisting the market, or being intentional about how your art exists in relation to the market, is itself an art form. So, art can be free in monetary terms, from the perspective of the receiver, but there are always costs and values associated with it. In a way the very definition of art, according to someone like Adorno, is that the art have a use value that goes beyond its exchange value, which is to say not that the artwork is free but that it is worth something apart from what anyone will pay for it. Artworks have value that is not paid for, that exists apart from the confines of the market, that resists definition and categorization by the market and its singlevector of monetary value. The moment of an artwork being free is just one instance of that. 47
At what cost do creative ideas exist (and thrive) as acts of generosity?
A few years ago, I taught a class at RISD in economics as a drawing practice. A textiles student, Eliza, made a final project called Supply and Demand Quilt Squares. She and I had watched some exceptionally dry economics lectures online, and she had copied the patterns of some of the charts onto fabric quilt squares, e.g., “Dead Weight Loss from Subsidy,” a chart given to intricate triangles and rectangles. She presented the work and then explained to the class that she had documented it already and was giving it away. I thought this was really funny and knowing: to learn economics, to make art about it, and then to choose to have the work circulate apart from the system the work is about. The generosity was inseparable from the content of the work. Generosity is always part of being an artist: An artist is almost always asked to put something out there before getting anything back. The cost of this generosity is from the point of view of the artist, who is, him- or herself, a financial ecosystem. The time and effort of the generously presented work is provided by the artist. Wearing my (scratchy, tight-fitting) economist hat, the artist makes that money back in “psychic income” of being generous. But there would be the cost of the artwork itself, of the risk to make it and give it away, and of the opportunity cost of not doing other things with that time and effort.
How can you place the concept of ownership on something that has been liberated from commercial interests?
In English, the word “Free” has a double meaning: both “up for grabs” and “liberated”… do you think that alternative exchange and/or gift can somehow facilitate freedom (of expression, freedom from socio-economic structures etc.)?
I do not believe you can liberate something from commercial interests by not owning it. I think you liberate it by keeping ownership, which allows you to control giving it away. For instance, owning the copyright yourself is what allows you to sign up for a Creative Commons license. If you don’t own the work and you just “put it out there,” it is easy, unfortunately, for others to co-opt and own it, however darkly. For instance, think of those people who bought up Occupy domains and started making Occupy t-shirts, or the coach of Jeremy Lin who bought up Linrelated domain names. There’s a very well-intentioned sense of making things free by giving them away and also a knee-jerk suspicion of ownership as greedy. But I think ownership is sometimes what allows you to protect the space of generosity. You own something specifically so that you can keep others from owning it, and that gesture of protectiveness is what allows you to give it away. I believe completely in the idea of free and I love to live in a world where we freely exchange ideas, artworks, anything. But I also believe that what is really liberating is not freedom but the combination of ownership and generosity. Ownership—as described in Coase Theorem, the assignment of property rights—creates clarity and protects things from being taken. 49
I like the idea of artists owning their work and then giving it away. It is the ownership that anchors the generous gesture. That ownership is what protects their ability to give it freely. I should add that “freely exchanged” is a tricky term because it is still rooted in ideas of exchange, which is a market metaphor. Ideally, we aren’t just freely exchanging things but sharing them, building them together, and involved in community and conversation around them. To you, what is an act of generosity in art? What societal potential does it have?
Can you make an example of an artwork or initiative based on free exchange or generosity that positively impressed you in recent times?
Most acts of art are generous. They are acts of recreating the world, of putting something out there that then transforms the way we all think and live. There are other transactions that happen in the art world that are not really about art, by the above, transformational definition, but about the production and sale of high end branded commodity products. Perhaps the way the artists performs in making those products is itself a meta-art project, but the circulation of those works themselves is steeped in the market. I am impressed by the barter ethos of Trade School and Ourgoods.org. Trade School is not technically free. Anyone can sign up to teach and then the request something in exchange. A woman taught introduction to astrology in exchange for lottery tickets. A Yale philosophy professor taught “Justice! Justice!
Justice!” in exchange for Belgian beer, pickles, drawings, or snacks for class. I teach “Business School for Artists” in exchange for Twitter tutorials, recipes, music recommendations, and drawings. When I teach, I feel like I would teach for free, so I forget there is an exchange, and when people give me barter items at the end of class, they feel like gifts. Caroline [Woolard], one of the Trade School founders, always says that the qualities she appreciates in collaborators are that they are both rigorous and generous. I feel there is something similar in the ethos of the Trade School community. Because there are acts of generosity forming the foundation—for instance, Caroline making cups of tea or the whole team designing the space in which Trade School happens—the barter does not feel like exchange so much as like shared value, buoyed by norms of reciprocity but fundamentally based on each person’s innate resourcefulness and ability to contribute. Trade School is free in being generative. It transcends exchange because —in the trading and in the sense of community— the sum is greater than the parts. If all the parties in an exchange are being generous, value is created not just traded.
Illustration by Michelle Taormina, cover of the book Museum Legs by Amy Whitaker. (Hol Art Books, 2009).
Amy Whitaker is a member of the Art Business Faculty at the Sotheby’s Institute in New York, and a writer-in-residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
She holds an MBA from Yale and an MFA in paint-
ing from the Slade School of Fine Art, and she teaches and writes in both directions, giving classes at Trade School, Occupy Wall Street, and LMCC’s Artist Summer Institute.
She has taught at Williams Col-
lege, the Rhode Island School of Design, and California College of the Arts, and moderated panels on the intersection of art, money, and politics. Her first book Museum Legs: Fatigue and Hope in the Face of
Art (Hol Art Books, 2009) was selected as the freshman reading book at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010, where Amy was invited to give the keynote at freshman orientation. As John Maeda, the RISD president, said, “This is a book about art history and museums, but it’s also about finances, labor law, world economics, all kinds of real world issues... that will affect your life” Museum Legs was also featured in the Authors@Google program and recommended by the Association of Art Museum Directors. 52
Caroline Woolard: Copyleft Proposal for The Free/ Open/ Libre Art Foundation:
“Free art” means art that respects viewers’ freedom and community. Roughly, viewers have the freedom to use, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the art. With these freedoms, the viewers (both individually and collectively) control the art and what it does for them. When viewers don’t control the art, the art controls the viewers. The artist controls the art, and through it controls the viewers. This nonfree or “proprietary” art is therefore an instrument of unjust power. Thus, “free art” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”. An art is free art if the art’s viewers have the four essential freedoms: - The freedom to use the art, for any purpose (freedom 0). - The freedom to study how the art works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the materials, tools, and documentation of the production process is a precondition for this. - The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2). - The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the mate53
rials, tools, and documentation of the production process is a precondition for this. Art is free art if viewers have all of these freedoms. Thus, you should be free to redistribute copies, either with or without modifications, either gratis or charging a fee for distribution, to anyone anywhere. Being free to do these things means (among other things) that you do not have to ask or pay for permission to do so. You should also have the freedom to make modifications and use them privately in your own work or play, without even mentioning that they exist. If you do publish your changes, you should not be required to notify anyone in particular, or in any particular way. The freedom to use art means the freedom for any kind of person or organization to use it on any kind of system, for any kind of overall job and purpose, without being required to communicate about it with the artist or any other specific entity. In this freedom, it is the viewer’s purpose that matters, not the artist’s purpose; you as a viewer are free to use the art for your purposes, and if you distribute it to someone else, she is then free to use it for her purposes, but you are not entitled to impose your purposes on her. The freedom to redistribute copies must include all forms of the art, as well as materials, tools, and documentation of the production process, for both modified and unmodified versions. It is OK if there is no way to produce a binary or executable form for a certain art (since some languages don’t support that feature), but you must have the freedom to redistribute such forms should you find or develop a way to make them. In order for freedoms 1 and 3 (the freedom to make changes and the freedom to publish improved versions) to be meaningful, you must have access to the materials, tools, and documentation of the production process of the art. Therefore, accessibility of materials, tools, and documentation of the production process is a necessary condition for free art. Obfuscated “materials, tools, and documentation of the production process” is not real materials, tools, and documentation of the production process 54
and does not count as materials, tools, and documentation of the production process. Freedom 1 includes the freedom to use your changed version in place of the original. If the art is delivered in a product designed to use someone else’s modified versions but refuse to use yours — a practice known as “tivoization” or “lockdown”, or (in its practitioners’ perverse terminology) as “secure boot” — freedom 1 becomes a theoretical fiction rather than a practical freedom. This is not sufficient. In other words, these binaries are not free art even if the materials, tools, and documentation of the production process they are compiled from is free. One important way to modify art is by merging in available free subroutines and modules. If the art license says that you cannot merge in a suitably licensed existing module — for instance, if it requires you to be the copyright holder of any code you add — then the license is too restrictive to qualify as free. Freedom 3 includes the freedom to release your modified versions as free art. A free license may also permit other ways of releasing them; in other words, it does not have to be a copyleft license. However, a license that requires modified versions to be nonfree does not qualify as a free license. In order for these freedoms to be real, they must be permanent and irrevocable as long as you do nothing wrong; if the artist of the art has the power to revoke the license, or retroactively add restrictions to its terms, without your doing anything wrong to give cause, the artwork is not free. However, certain kinds of rules about the manner of distributing free art are acceptable, when they don’t conflict with the central freedoms. For example, copyleft (very simply stated) is the rule that when redistributing artworks, you cannot add restrictions to deny other people the central freedoms. This rule does not conflict with the central freedoms; rather it protects them. “Free art” does not mean “noncommercial”. Free art must be available for commercial use, commercial development, and commercial distribution. Commercial development of free art is no longer unusual; such free commercial art 55
is very important. You may have paid money to get copies of free art, or you may have obtained copies at no charge. But regardless of how you got your copies, you always have the freedom to copy and change the art, even to sell copies. Whether a change constitutes an improvement is a subjective matter. If your modifications are limited, in substance, to changes that someone else considers an improvement, that is not freedom. However, rules about how to package a modified version are acceptable, if they don’t substantively limit your freedom to release modified versions, or your freedom to make and use modified versions privately. Thus, it is acceptable for the license to require that you change the name of the modified version, remove a logo, or identify your modifications as yours. As long as these requirements are not so burdensome that they effectively hamper you from releasing your changes, they are acceptable; you’re already making other changes to the art, so you won’t have trouble making a few more. A special issue arises when a license requires changing the name by which the art will be invoked from other arts. That effectively hampers you from releasing your changed version so that it can replace the original when invoked by those other arts. This sort of requirement is acceptable only if there’s a suitable aliasing facility that allows you to specify the original art’s name as an alias for the modified version. Rules that “if you make your version available in this way, you must make it available in that way also” can be acceptable too, on the same condition. An example of such an acceptable rule is one saying that if you have distributed a modified version and a previous artist asks for a copy of it, you must send one. (Note that such a rule still leaves you the choice of whether to distribute your version at all.) Rules that require release of materials, tools, and documentation of the production process to the viewers for versions that you put into public use are also acceptable. In the GNU project, we use copyleft to protect these freedoms legally for everyone. But noncopylefted free art also exists. We believe there are important rea56
sons why it is better to use copyleft (or creative commons), but if your art is noncopylefted free art, it is still basically ethical. Sometimes government export control regulations and trade sanctions can constrain your freedom to distribute copies of arts internationally. Artists do not have the power to eliminate or override these restrictions, but what they can and must do is refuse to impose them as conditions of use of the art. In this way, the restrictions will not affect activities and people outside the jurisdictions of these governments. Thus, free art licenses must not require obedience to any export regulations as a condition of any of the essential freedoms. Most free art licenses are based on copyright, and there are limits on what kinds of requirements can be imposed through copyright. If a copyright-based license respects freedom in the ways described above, it is unlikely to have some other sort of problem that we never anticipated (though this does happen occasionally). However, some free art licenses are based on contracts, and contracts can impose a much larger range of possible restrictions. That means there are many possible ways such a license could be unacceptably restrictive and nonfree. We can’t possibly list all the ways that might happen. If a contract-based license restricts the user in an unusual way that copyright-based licenses cannot, and which isn’t mentioned here as legitimate, we will have to think about it, and we will probably conclude it is nonfree. When talking about free art, it is best to avoid using terms like “give away” or “for free,” because those terms imply that the issue is about price, not freedom. Some common terms such as “piracy” embody opinions we hope you won’t endorse. Finally, note that criteria such as those stated in this free art definition require careful thought for their interpretation. To decide whether a specific art license qualifies as a free art license, we judge it based on these criteria to determine whether it fits their spirit as well as the precise words. If a license includes unconscionable restrictions, we reject it, even if we did not anticipate the issue in these criteria. Sometimes a 57
license requirement raises an issue that calls for extensive thought, including discussions with a lawyer, before we can decide if the requirement is acceptable. When we reach a conclusion about a new issue, we often update these criteria to make it easier to see why certain licenses do or donâ€™t qualify. If you are contemplating writing a new license, please contact the Free art Foundation first by writing to that address. The proliferation of different free art licenses means increased work for viewers in understanding the licenses; we may be able to help you find an existing free art license that meets your needs. If that isnâ€™t possible, if you really need a new license, with our help you can ensure that the license really is a free art license and avoid various practical problems. /// HOW TO MAKE THIS DOCUMENT: take documents from the Free Software Foundation replace <software> with <art> replace <program> with <art> replace <users> with <viewers> replace <developer> with <artist> replace <run> with <use> replace <source code> with <materials, tools, and documentation of the production process> replace <computer system> with <system>
Caroline Woolard is an interdisciplinary artist and co-founder of OurGoods.org and TradeSchool.coop, two barter economies for cultural producers. Exploring solidarity economics and civic engagement, her work is collaborative and takes many forms: sculptures, websites, workshops, installations and performances. This work has been supported by the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, Cooper Union, a MacDowell Colony fellowship, a Watermill Center residency, Esterni Milan, the optimism of strangers, unemployment benefits, a studio group called Splinters and Logs, and grants from iLAND, The Field, and the Rockefeller Cultural Innovation Fund. Woolard is currently teaching at the New School, is a Fellow at Eyebeam: Art and Technology Center, and is a coordinating member of SolidarityNYC.org, an organization that seeks to connect, support, and promote grassroots economic justice groups in New York City.
Trade School logo design by Louise Ma www.tradeschool.coop 60
Project Sponsors: Printed Matter
BAA (Bulgarian Artists in America) Young Artists Fund
Brooklyn’s Natural Food Co.
Elaine TIn Nyo Still from Three Minutes of Intimacy (Carson City) 2006. 62