December 15, 2011
Artist Bloc No. 1, Is Art Labor?
The Artist Bloc No. 1 zine is in circulation! This publication takes up the question of whether or not art is labor, and considers the contribution of artists to the current Occupy movement and social justice movements in general. It features contributions from Christian L. Frock, Joseph del Pesco (Open Space columnist), Julia Bryan-Wilson, Mary Christmas, Elizabeth Sims, Adrienne Skye Roberts, The Beehive Collective, Welly Fletcher, Morgan R. Levy, Hannah Gustavvson, Paulina M. Nowicka, Zeph Fishlyn, Leslie Dryer, and the Art Workers’ Coalition. Design and layout by Paulina M. Nowicka. You can check it out online here. Read, print, copy, and redistribute!
There is an exhibition currently running at Southern Exposure called Working Conditions (yes, I’m in it as well), that I would say relates to topics set out in this zine. Check it out here: http://soex.org/Exhibit/98.html
As artists/participants in this exhibition, we were paid a stipendium for our time—more or less minimum wage for our “required” hours per week to be in the space. Of course, as artists, most of us put in far many more hours than we were paid for, but the fact that a stipendium was given in recognition of our “struggling to survive and sustain our creative practice in an economy that does not value us as workers, that privatizes cultural institutions and that continuously defunds art programs…”, shows that at least one institution in the Bay Area (and most likely many more) DO value art as a form of labor, and see it fit to value an artist’s labor, not just the artist’s product.