Since I haven't posted here before I'll preface these remarks by stating I'm
not a curator and make it a point to correct people when they assume that is
my intention when I work on projects like ACT UP at White Columns (NY,
Summer 1988), Set the Woods on Fire (Simon Watson, NY, 1991), artnetweb/iola
(1993 on), PORT MIT (1997) C Shell Lounge (currently under development) and
A stint as a student in the NYU Museum Studies program in the early
'nineties and teaching as an adjunct in the NYU Department of Art Arts
Administration Program for three years are my only brushes with academia.
I've never actually worked in a museum, although I did volunteer work at the
New Museum in New York years ago, and experience which initially sparked my
interest in how art institutions work.
All of the above I consider as part of my art practice and at present, the
main focus of that practice is on the intersection of digital media with
collective intelligence. I started out as a painter and after showing in
galleries and selling that work in NY and LA I realized I had little
interest in the art consumer (be they collectors or museum visitors) and was
more happy tinkering around "under the hood" of art and working with other
artists. I'm not interested in exhibiting art anymore, either.
There's probably a name for what I do -- I was drawn to "animateur" until I
found it was already taken -- but it's not curating as I understand the term
today: as the representative of the art consumer in the art marketplace
(which is somewhat how Katy Kline director of the MIT List Center defined
the role of curator to me).
So, in this context, what is off-topic to curators is usually relevant to me
and I'm sure other artists.
offshore | online
on 1/5/02 12:44 PM, Simon Biggs at [log in to unmask] wrote:
> I do not know what the conditions were for the artists showing in the real
> space of the museum but would imagine they would be the usual...a fee,
> installation expenses, travel and accomodation, a catalogue, related PR,
> etc. Knowing some of the artists I know that they would not show without
> receiving a significant fee. Nor would I...whether for a net piece or an
Since you don't name (and I don't recognize) the museum I can only write in
generalities. Your list of "the usuals" shows you are definately not an
American artist. Most US art museums are woefully underfunded and
increasingly they are adopting corporate models to survive. So, these are
perks granted to upper-level executive, not the grunt workforce, artists.
> I am one of the artists linked to on the site. I only found out about the
> show after the fact and via a third party. The curators did not contact me
> to ask for permission to refer or link to the work (or, for that matter,
> select and curate it) or even to inform me of their intent. I have never
> heard of them or from them. Obviously they did not offer me any recompense
> of any kind nor any other benefits...although clearly they must feel that
> linking to work such as mine is of significant enough value to them.
Since Christiane Paul of the Whitney responded to your post previously I'll
do a little minor venting about the fact that she included links to several
projects of mine in her Whitney ArtPort site without asking me. My problem
isn't being paid for it but that those sites have deteriorated for various
reasons and I no longer consider them to be linkable. Had the Whitney
bothered to aske me I would have proposed a new strategy more in line with
my current focus. Knowing Christiane, I know it is mostly a matter of lack
of time and resources to do that but it was an assumption on her part that
her focus (and the Whitney's) is my focus. That's why in earlier discussions
of "virtual museums" I emphasised negotiation between artists and
institutions and the need for someone to act in between. The curator, no
matter what her ideal may be, always has to stand before the exhibitions
committee (or something like that) and present her exhibition plans and I
have the utmost sympathy for a curator who tries to explain someone like me
> Whilst it is nice for ones work to be noted and linked to I think this
> curatorial approach raises some important questions about how curators and
> their institutions relate to artists in general and net based artists in
> particular. I have not yet contacted the curators or their institution. I
> am not sure what I would say if I did. It has crossed my mind to ignore
> them, just as they have ignored me. If I was an artist of a different
> character I might do something that would bounce back at them (eg: an
> RTMark type thing) but that wouldn't be my style.
Simon, make a stink. Offer some protocols for curators to follow in the
future with regards to linking and suggest they offer some of their own. In
other words, negotiate. One of my goals this year is to create new
contractural agreements between artists and institutions for cases like this
and the more imput, the better.