The economic position of artists should be improved in the following ways…

November 2, 2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

The Art Workers’ Coalition was an organization of artists formed in 1969 to demand artists’ rights, museum reform, representation of women and artists of color in museums, and for museums to take a moral stance on the Vietnam War. As we consider artists’ stake in the current Occupy Wall Street movements, the Art Workers’ Coalition provides necessary historical context. Copied below is the Art Workers’ Coalition’s Statement of Demands made in November 1970 in New York City. How relevant are these demands today? What would you change? What new demands are necessary?

WITH REGARDS TO ART MUSEUMS IN GENERAL THE ART WORKERS’ COALITION MAKES THE FOLLOWING DEMANDS:

1. The Board of Trustees of all museums should be made up of one-third museum staff, one-third patrons, and one-third artists, if it is to continue to act as the policy-making body of the museum. All means should be explored in the interest of a more open-minded and democratic museum. Art works are a cultural heritage that belongs to the people. No minority has the right to control them; therefore, a board of trustees chosen on a financial basis must be eliminated.

2. Admission to all museums should be free at all times, and they should be open evenings to accommodate working people.

3. All museums should decentralize to the extent that their activities and services enter Black, Puerto Rican, and all other communities. They should support events with which these communities can identify and control. They should convert existing structures all over the city into relatively cheap, flexible branch-museums or cultural centres that could not carry the stigma of catering only to the wealthier sections of society.

4. A section of all museums under the direction of Black and Puerto Rican artists should be devoted to showing the accomplishments of Black and Puerto Rican artists, particularly in those cities where these (or other) minorities are well represented.

5. Museums should encourage female artists to overcome centuries of damage done to the image of the female as an artist by establishing equal representation of the sexes in exhibitions, museum purchases, and on selection committees.

6. At least one museum in each city should maintain an up-to-date registry of all artists in their area, that is available to the public.

7. Museum staffs should take positions publicly and use their political influence in matters concerning the welfare of artists, such as rent control for artists’ housing, legislation for artists’ rights, and whatever else may apply specifically to artists in their area. In particular, museums, as central institutions, should be aroused by the crisis threatening man’s survival and should make their own demands to the government that ecological problems be put on par with war and space efforts.

8. Exhibition programs should give special attention to works by artists not represented by a commercial gallery. Museums should also sponsor the production and exhibition of such works outside their own premises.

9. Artists should retain a disposition over the destiny of their work, whether or not it is owned by them, to ensure that it cannot be altered, destroyed, or exhibited without their consent.

UNTIL SUCH TIME AS A MINIMUM INCOME IS GUARANTEED FOR ALL PEOPLE, THE ECONOMIC POSITION OF ARTISTS SHOULD BE IMPROVED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:

1. Rental fees should be paid to artists or their heirs for all work exhibited where admissions are charged, whether or not the work is owned by the artist.

2. A percentage of the profit realized on the re-sale of an artist’s work should revert to the artist or his heirs.

3. A trust fund should be set up from a tax levied on the sales of the work of dead artists. This fund would provide stipends, health insurance, help for artists’ dependents, and other social benefits.

16 Comments

  1. Donald Frazell Says:

    The internet takes care of most of the listing stuff, but this is but a buncha soft and spoiled kids who want attention, what does it have to do with creative art? What, a MFA makes you an artist? No way. It means you have been Pavlovian trained to amuse their masters, the patrons of the arts, the nouveau riche who crave attention and the need for control and seperation from humanity.

    No kid witha piece of paper is any good in any field, least of all art. One must live, must toil, must struggle to create a visual language that is Relevant to humanity, of nature, and to what we call god, purpose and meaning. No one whould be given any money, thats just gives the entitled time to live off of others hard work doing nothing. Self expression is the bigget lie of the artworld, thats for children. Adults explore, and create things that rerflect Our world. It doesnt matter the color or sex, though the art scene is only interested in tokens to prove their liberaliness.

    Rufino Tamayo is perhasp the greatest colorist and painter of all the Americas, Romare Bearden the descendant of Geroges Braque as is Tamayo, taking the cubist lexicon into ones own culture yet seeking the universal, as Braques did as a Frenchman. The last to do so and the last approacing being a great artist is Anselm Kiefr, who took his drama of the German past and especially Nazism into a univesal language of who WE are. Art is never I. How come so little of them is shoiwn, and seldom is Tamayo’s except his pre 1950 learning curve, his apex was in the 60s and 70s. Instead we have the travesty of institutional backslapping and speculative board member investor exhbitions of the PSt here in LA

    Artists are workers, we make, and then sell and it is no longer ours, we have no right as we have already been paid. We retain rights to the image for reproduction, that is enough. None of those above would be bought, they are Peter Pans and Wendys living in a Neverland and just want, yet not give. They are no better than anyone else, worse as they are looking for handouts, who made them worth anything? They must earn that, just like everyone else. Art has a roll in human culture, it is not culture itself. Creativity is everywhere in everything, but now totally lacking in the derivative bells and shistles of the artworld, this generation starting that path by buying art degrees that they want to believe connotes upon them the title artiste.

    No great artist ever graduated from an art school. Apprenticeship yes, as Americas greatest artists did, jazz musicians from Miles Davis to Terrence Blanchard. Thess are but whining babies, and their descendants are legion. Today there is far too much wallspace with far too little art, Contempt art is Not Modern art and both MoMAs are ruining themsleves growing into something which are truly antithesis of one another, and have no business being in the same structures. You are off message, and now, the enemy. Get bck to what is truly Modern, defining who ‘We are, exploring Nature and reaching for more, Even a communist by politics as WWII never ended for Picasso in Spain, his work was filled with meaning and purpose, evolved the only concept ever worth discussing, God.

    Save the color filled and spiritual Watts Towers(Nuestro Pueblo)
    Tear down the increasingly drab and soulless Ivories.

  2. Donald Frazell Says:

    And as far as the grossly overrated and anemic academic Buckminster Fuller and his silly dome that is never used because it is far more “clever’ than useful, hunger isnt an issue, We all go through that and helps focus ones energy adn finding purpose, Starvation is and beyond his and the artworlds knowledge or understanding.

    “All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness….No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

    John Donne, and Ernest Hemingway.

  3. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    Are you angry or what? yup…

  4. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    I like the sign that the gal is holding! go girl!

  5. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    I sure hope you have a day job!

  6. Donald Frazell Says:

    Of course, not a soft and spoiled artsites sitting around whining and looking for handouts. I am a Man, not a child. But have to deal with far too many of you, always wanting things printed to match what is in their heads, as they cant actually do anything with their hands. And so not artists, but effete and Peter Pan and Wendy artistes. Neverland doesnt exist, get over it.

  7. S. Gaines Says:

    Donald Frazell is a wannabe artist/art critic who has never been solicited for an art show in his life. He has never worked in the arts in any capacity. He is a button pusher at a local copy shop and thats about the best he can do with his extensive education in “world history and the arts. He is not being considered by the Vatican or any other establishment for exhibition. As forvhis claim of beingva man, it’s curious why he still lives in his parents house at the age of 50. He brags of an extensive knowledge of music particularly jazz. How many instruments does he play? None. His knowledge of music and music theory- none. I would challenge Frazell to show me middle C on a piano. I doubt he even knows what that is. Every comment he makes drifts of into a dillusional incoherent babel about anything from jazz, to his days as a professional basketball coach (???), to his former Nation of Islam Taibo Goddess (if you can imagine such a thing). He is also known for physically attacking gallery owners when they don’t give him a show. This is a fact. Beware of this man (if you can call him that). I implore Frazell to please spare the rest of the civilized world of his disjointed rants and distateful

  8. S. Gaines Says:

    Donald Frazell is a wannabe artist/art critic who has never been solicited for an art show in his life. He has never worked in the arts in any capacity. He is a button pusher at a local copy shop and thats about the best he can do with his extensive education in “world history and the arts. He is not being considered by the Vatican or any other establishment for exhibition. As forvhis claim of beingva man, it’s curious why he still lives in his parents house at the age of 50. He brags of an extensive knowledge of music particularly jazz. How many instruments does he play? None. His knowledge of music and music theory- none. I would challenge Frazell to show me middle C on a piano. I doubt he even knows what that is. Every comment he makes drifts of into a dillusional incoherent babel about anything from jazz, to his days as a professional basketball coach (???), to his former Nation of Islam Taibo Goddess (if you can imagine such a thing). He is also known for physically attacking gallery owners when they don’t give him a show. This is a fact. Beware of this man (if you can call him that). I implore Frazell to please spare the rest of the civilized world of his disjointed rants and distasteful perspectives. I would also encourage him to get a real education in something useful and relevant. He will never make a career in the arts as a mediocre painter whose color palette comes straight from the tube. You have a long way to go and a lot learn before you can call yourself even a frustrated artist best. You’re not even in the ballpark. Your critiques reveal your lack of maturity, sophistication, and most of all common sense. In effect you have revealed yourself to be a true moron.

  9. Donald Frazell Says:

    So Norm you finally show your twisted head of venomous hate. Your one eyed hero worship of ganstas and hoes, something you are far too weak to be but imagine you are. You have no talent but self promotion and effing up your family. Poor kids. Luckily I am a peaceful man and ahd to rein in many, and forgive you. Your life is a mess enough as is. The LAPD is known as Letting All people down to the Sheriifs and others in law enforcement and knew they messed up and had Mayhem charges against you, but the DA dept is equally weak and politicized, they bailed as are not exactly what you see on TV shows either, Hollywood is full of self absorbed and selfish rigtheous dreamers, not doers.

    True, my upright 1904 Schubert grand is not in use, havent for decades and covered in art stuff right now. Though Ruth Price who runs the jazz Bakery is a friend and often showed at her pl;ace, before the useless son of her old landlord at the Helms Bakery complex revoked her lease, but soon to move in next to the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver city. Catalinas is the only other real jazz club in LA. They get the out of town talent from NYC not just local professional musicians. Also showed at two old black owned galleries, unfortunatley both gone especially the Tanner gallery on Pico near Roscoes. Knew many in the jazz world from my girl Tricia Tahara who only put out one great CD with Wallace Roney as the life was too hard, and my ex brother in law who i met his old classmates like Branford Marsalis and Jeff Tain Watts. But that was long ago, and jazz pretty much over as a creative force, by far the greatest in America, grossly overrated visually.

    The owner of the gallery Tanner got in a car accident i hear as i was out of art raising my kids for 13 years, a far more important and creative act than being a spoiled selfish artist , one an Annapolis grad now in med school ,the other taking film clases plus many others. Landry Fields of the Knicks was a year older than my youngest and played ball together for a decade, i coached both as well as many others, though my son was on an Adidas travel team in HS with Russell Westbrook who was just being known at the time I did not coach.

    My wife is an amazingly talented and beautiful woman with both a fianance degree and later graphic design from UCLA as she had a real life, and is not amused by artistes either. She was an original Tae boe girl and in their videos from a decade ago, as well as her parents taking the place of Malcolm as the Messengers beloved, both lawyers who ran two temples and let in teh aftermath of his death in teh civil wars that broke out, he was truly a spiritual man who sought to help young blakc men and not out for pwoer, there were too many of those adn it broke apart. My ex wife is also an incredibly talentd woman who is finaly working ahrd at ehr craft and in the National Collage esociety callendar this coming year. Taking Romare Beardens work further.

    Archbishop Ravasi loved my triptych ad suggested i be in the inaugarual Vatican Pavilion at Venice, the most decadent event on earth. Unfortunately they have their own issues and bailed out, but now at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels committee for being in a chapel, which they were designed to do with two other paintings based on John Coltranes music leading people in, the most religious and powerful musician of the 20th century.

    I was to show at LA Artcore but Lydia broke her promsie, probably found out how disgusted i was with contempt art after being away for 13 years and had started blogging. She bought three of my prints and sold them at a fundraising auction for them, look it up. Then after promising profusely she had me with one other guy who was also a “unschooled’ Artist put in two typical rice paper Japanese girl hypersensitivity piec ehsow. He rworld as meaningless as all teh artworlds, like LACMA using Nuestro Pueblo(Watts Towers) claming they will do something and over a eyar later nothing but Pr pieces and no promotion or fundraising for the towes, but using them to promote general fund fundraising for new bad art. Liars and deceivers. We have been bamboozled, hoodwinked, led astray(Malcom X) by the self absored artworld of investment therapy adn games.

    And looks like i have a disturbed stalker. i still sell, just not through art galleries which in LA are for interior designers who seek to create talking pieces for new dumb actors and Hollywood types who truly have nothing to say(MoCa has a gallery at the Pacific Design center. Its not about art, here or very many other places, its all about apperance and illusion, its entertainment folks. absurdist for the tacky and ignorant nouveau riche in the age of Meism and excess where hubris and imperial clothing is king.

    art collegia deledna est
    Fine art academeis msut be destroyed
    No great artist has ever graduated from their sterile and mediocrity promoting halls

  10. Adrienne Skye Roberts Says:

    I was hoping that this post would generate some conversation about the content of the post itself; the demands made by the AWC in the 1970s. What do you think? How might these demands be made relevant to the Bay Area, today’s economic mismanagement, the culture surrounding arts institutions, funding, etc.?

  11. Donald Frazell Says:

    The art world is of the powers who mismanage, you exist for their entertainment, you are their lap puppies. Time to grow up, become independant thinkers, and more importantly feelers. As Picasso did after selling all his pink and blue stuff to Vollard, throw out everything you have been taught. And begin to see afresh. Your tiny inbred world of the white cube is a lie. Get out in the real world, this is where art and life are.

  12. brainard carey Says:

    OMG! I woould love to discuss the demands made by the AWC Adrienne! This blog points out a problem with blogs trying to start interesting conversations- they often turn into personal rants and fights and no one is listening or learning or dicussing.
    My feeling is that there are some great points here- how about the board of directors being one third artists! That would be a big help in getting a new perspective in there.
    And this one is great – 1. Rental fees should be paid to artists or their heirs for all work exhibited where admissions are charged, whether or not the work is owned by the artist.
    That does make sense, at least in the context of a museum. People are coming only to look at works, why shouldn’t it be the same as what authors do?
    Maybe we need a revised set of rules and a new movement, this is inspiring. Ay collaborators for that? (Lets keep personal asides out- love to you all)

  13. s.gaines Says:

    Mr. Frazell,
    Thank you for sharing your impressive resume. It was as incoherent as ever. It did however validate my point. That you are a frustrated non-artist who hates artist and art in general. You have never exhibited at the Vatican and never will. If I’m wrong please forward the dates of your showing. Your art work does not sell in galleries or anywhere for that matter. If I’m not mistaken you also admitted to attacking a gallery owner in Los Angeles and are currently serving probation for the matter. I hope the victim sued your pants off. The one thing you have exhibited here is that you have no shame in showing the public that you are obnoxious, you can’t stay on subject, you know very little about art, you display the characteristics of a sociopath and are obviously a very hateful and dangerous individual. It’s apparent that you’ve taken to hi-jacking the artblogs with your distaste in a effort to save your failed art career that never existed in the first place. In the future I hope that if you have nothing nice to say (or relevant to the subject) that you will do us all a favor and say nothing.

  14. Suzanne Says:

    Gaines & Frazell– please take your off-topic rant and personal disagreement off of Open Space, or I’ll be forced to ban you from commenting any further. Many thanks!

  15. Donald Frazell Says:

    No problem, he can sen me his email or comment on my blog, happy to educate him. If possible

  16. Harlan Sadberry Says:

    “7. Museum staffs should take positions publicly and use their political influence in matters concerning the welfare of artists, such as rent control for artists’ housing, legislation for artists’ rights, and whatever else may apply specifically to artists in their area. In particular, museums, as central institutions, should be aroused by the crisis threatening man’s survival and should make their own demands to the government that ecological problems be put on par with war and space efforts.”

    This would be as timely a demand now as when it was written in 1970. Are we too late in the game?

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