21 Feb 2013

Market Project

I just discovered the fabulous website of 'Market Project – Economic and professional research by artists', an initiative by 8 artists working in the East of England.

One of the posts had the ready made answer I wish I had at hand when I got slapped in the face by a huge paw of capitalism criticism as an answer to my questions how to make money as an artist...

Between a stoke and a smack

November 16, 2012

Extract from a conversation between Ronnie Simpson and Phyllida Barlow in a catalogue produced for her exhibition, STINT at the Mead Gallery, 2008;

RS:  one of the myths surrounding your work is your reluctance to have anything to do with the commercial art world?

PB:  I’m having a whole change of mind about this.  Also, I don’t know if that is accurate.  There’s nothing wrong with selling work.  I’ve never had a problem with that.  I think we don’t know how to resist capitalism – we’re not equipped to do it.  Where we’ve placed ourselves within an art world means we’ve signed up for capitalism whether we like it or not.  If we want to disenfranchise ourselves from capitalism, I think it means an absolutely radical shift in so many ways, where art and life perhaps have to be absolutely entwined – where art and life are one and the same thing.
I want to think more about this, but I’m suggesting that to exist without any relationship to the art world demands making your art outside of it – and what does that mean, in reality, and what does that entail?  Of course, it’s possible.  But the art world is voracious, and has the capacity to devour anything and everything.  An ‘outsider’ becomes just as devourable as an ‘insider’.  Such is the success of this capitalist art world we’re all having to live with.
I don’t think about my work in relation to any commercially driven incentives.  It has to be about the urge to do it, first and foremost.  And to reveal something, to be surprised, to let the work lead into uncharted waters, to let go.  Not for selling to be the prime motive.  However, fees and contracts for commissions etc. are becoming increasingly important.  They are an economic incentive, very much so.


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  2. 'The urge to do it, first and foremost.' The test for me in this is to try NOT making work. It is impossible. I cannot do it. I would have to make art regardless of any form of renumeration. Great article/interview.