New Demands?
Performance, Chicago
Photo: Kenny Smilovitch
When and why do artists work for free? What constitutes “fair pay” for working artists? (How) do abuses and gains for workers in the larger economy impact artists and cultural workers? This iteration of New Demands? explored the definition and value of artistic work, its relationship to timed labor more generally, and the precarious economic position of most working artists.

The performance was inspired by developments inside and outside of the art world — notably cutbacks to wages and workers’ rights across the USA — as well as attempts to limit unions within the art world. Recently for example, Sotheby’s locked out its unionized professional art handlers, and Frieze Art Fair in New York is refusing to employ unionize workers. This performance pays tribute to historical instances of artists organizing for better working conditions: the American Artists' Congress, The Artists' Union, Art Workers Coalition, Black Emergency Cultural Coalition, and Women, Art, Revolution. It also pays tribute to contemporary arts organizations such as Occupy Museums, Working Artists and the Greater Economy — and more locally, Threewalls — that survey working conditions for artists and seek to pay artists a fair wage for their work.

Performed in conjunction with 2nd Floor Rear Festival of Art in Alternative Spaces
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