Art Writing as Craft, Labor, and Art: An Arts & Labor Roundtable
Thursday October 25 at 7 p.m.
Housing Works Cafe and Bookstore
126 Crosby Street New York, NY
Admission: a book donation to Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
Art writing is hard work. However, it is often framed as a mythic activity, replete with benefits such as “the power of the pen,” the authority of the critic, and the allure of earning a living while doing something exciting, and meaningful.
The realities of writing about contemporary art include a precarious living, high attrition, hard deadlines, and the charge that criticism is “massively produced, and massively ignored.” Rather than being treated as an art form or a skill developed over time, art writing is frequently viewed as a tool of the market and an index for valuation and canonization, with art writers functioning as cogs in the vast cultural machine.
So why do people continue to write about art? Why does one aspire to become an art writer in a field that has shrinking prestige and financial returns, and when chief-critic positions are becoming scarce? And why, in this economic climate, is art writing thriving online and degree-programs devoted to the field have begun to appear?
Join Arts & Labor for a roundtable to discuss labor conditions in art writing. Hear how various writers’ practices began, how their careers evolved, and what they think about the current state of art writing. Together we will attempt to imagine how writers could develop new networks to support one another, and to practice their art and craft in a sustainable and generative way in the future.
Art writers include: Ben Davis, Kareem Estefan, Ken Johnson, Paddy Johnson, Omar Lopez-Chahoud, Walter Robinson, Mira Schor, Martha Schwendener, and Christian Viveros-Fauné.