October 9, 2012


In Attendance: BR, AS, BW, PC, CT, MB

Report Backs:

  • Art Matters Grant
  • Critics Roundtable:
  • CMJ Panel Discussion: Working Conditions for Musicians
  • Tammy Kim Article
  • Organizer training



MB: Alt Economy Meeting Report Back– should we post subgroup minutes to the laborer’s list?

Alt Econ Book: It’s done! No budget for printing. Looking into funding. Also looking for online ability to comments and add resources. Will send to tech ops. Also ask WS about possible tools.

Yana talked about her project. She made a survey that her parents handed out to the factory that they work in Georgia. She is using that to make paintings, and as a way for people to experience art. This might be something that we can engage in. Reach out to people who aren’t art targets, to expand our ideas for what art should be, and how it can be accessible.

Also talked about different projects. MB wants to work on projects that extract art from capitalism. Redefining, art, artists and art world.  AS wants to look at intersection between individual and collective art practice. AS is interested in how art circulates

Yana interested in value, from critics to curators. Ownership- who owns art. Survey of bringing in people who aren’t traditionally in art world, reconnecting them to art.

BW: I do something similar to survey idea at Paul Robeson galleries. Current show “what cannot be cured must be endured.” Artists who have work all deal with health. Communities aren’t arts communities. Juvenile detention centers, day car centers for seniors and developmentally disabled adults. Not art therapy- they are making art. They are artists. This program might be a good resource, its been going on for 5 years. There are 10 teaching artists. They have done research. Amanda Bell is the curator there who runs the program.

MB: Capitalism is disease.

BR: Quote of the day.

MB:  In Yana’s project, she said that the roles between “laborer” and  “artist” are switched. Am interested in that idea.

Was great! Was successful! Lots of stories were shared. It got really personal. It was recorded, but it was too intimate to share.  MB will listen to audio and make a stab at synopsis, but leave out personal details so we can have a report back for our website.

BW: Has photos. Will send.

3. Art Matters Grant

Grant was submitted, they got it. We got confirmation. Will hear in 2 weeks if there is any problem with our submission. We will hear if we get it or not by December 1st.

 4. CMJ Panel Discussion: Working Conditions for Musicians

It’s happening on October 18th Matt P. On Facebook.


Speakers still being confirmed. Looking for a good facilitator. Format will be start with open popcorning about what the conditions are for musicians, and then a few panelists from other industries will talk about their work in relationship to these conditions. Then it will be an open discussion.

MB: What does he need?  Promotion. We can all help promote.

AS: Panel Riffs as action? ie. We could wheatpaste alternative panel titles on CMJ posters and or programs. I lived the Heydey and see the future. I lived the Heydey and I see no future.

MB: Connect Ben Laude with Matt P. and Joey

BR: Anyone who wants to work on an action surrounding this, should contact Matt P. We don’t have a lot of time.

PC: Usually don’t advertise panels, just bands. There is a program.

5. Critics Roundtable: 

BR sum up: It is in the works. So far speakers confirmed are Martha, Ben Davis, Paddy Johson, Omar ?,  Mira Schor, Kareem Estafan. Waiting until end of week to send finalize text once we have solidified the group.

AS: Someone should meet with Amanda about arranging space. They arrange space. AS will email MS about space.  Send the email blast out by October 16th. Enough time to get into some blogs. Annie will get more contacts.

BW: Is there enough space? Will draw a lot of people.

CT: Have been to events that its full. Can’t do a circle. People in front audience.

MB: I want us to think about how can critics change their practice that is revolutionary.  What would really change the dynamics of hierarchy and power within this field?

BR: Have you seen the panel description? It frames the conversation pretty nicely.

MB: No. Hasn’t gone out to list.

AS: We will put the citics panel description out to the list.

Murphy Center Report Back: Labor studies department at CUNY. What would it mean to form a partnership—there is interest to do something. They are interested in working with us, they can have a panel.

Separate meeting around worker centers? To catch everyone up.

6. Tammy Kim Article

Tammy Kim-  labor lawyer . AS, BR, and KW met with her and talked about our group. She is interested in writing an article about lives of art workers- ie are art workers day laboer’s?  Pitched to blogs- picked up by The American Prospect.

If anyone wants to reach out to her and talk about their experiences as an art worker email her at etam…@gmail.com.

7. Organizer training

MP set up meeting with Paul Gestos. He founded Community Voices Heard—went well but he was a little bristly—comments about anarchists—said we wanted something really basic- initial strategies- how build powerbase—difference between activism and organizing.—but not sure if he wants to do it or not. He is leaving for Paris. Need to do before or wait for him to come back in November—maybe best to look for another person? Could do with him as well or with MP- Blithe’s husband. BR and MP are working on it. Will continue the search.

——–end of report backs



Smack Mellon—what to do? Last meeting got consensus.

Overview of invitation: Initially came by curator to Annie who decided that the natural thing would be to propose A&L since that has been her work for the past year.  Curator is up for it. The whole basis for the show is “the aesthetics of resistance.” The Fee for participation is $50.

AS: We are late with proposal. Need to give the curator something. Show is not that far away.

 Previous Proposals for what to do at SM (2 weeks ago).

1.     Debt Squares

2.     Address why only paid $50 dollars—to point to issue resist aesthetics of resistance.

3.     Formal documentation of what A & L has done- handshake with art community.

4.     Use as advertising for A & L.—have regular meeting in open space invite people in to see what organizing and resistance looks like

5.     have color pens and poster paper record people meeting and discussing tactics- way to engage people in what we do.  What do we want?

AS: Do we want to do it about $50? Somehow divide $$ between all workers—or take total of $500 or all artists? That said, so tired of artists taking money and critiquing it . Not about criticizing her (curator is a friend). Or something else about infrastructure?

CT: Anything we do is a form of outreach. Feel like we should address $50

PC: Like the idea of addressing fee too.

AS: Could chart it- all work that it takes to have these conversations.  Getting $50 is not normal in non-profit gallery.  Invite WAGE into discussion? Could ask to see amount of money artists have been paid for projects in the past.

BR: BIG Resistance to documentation- can depoliticize. Put A&L and OWS in a box that is not productive. Focus on what do we want to accomplish with this show. Change consciousness of AW’s, stop smack Mellon using unpaid interns, higher fees for shows? If we decide that we can talk strategy.

BR: What about a big sign that says “The Aesthetics of Resistance Are Not Here along with our meeting time?

BW, CT: Like that.

BW: What if we made it like a sign? Or what if it was wall text for a piece- so that people were looking into empty space.

AS: That phrase is poetic and interesting. Could be something we wheat paste at political shows in general.

MB: Or a Banner drop?

BR: Does that co-opt our aesthetic?

MB: Post it note?

BR: Resistance as we have seen it this year is not possible in a gallery. Does that statement say that it is coming? If so, I don’t like it. We have it in our spaces- meeting spots—the aesthetics we have is not planned. It collides and is generative in unexpected ways- you can’t curate or replicate that! Grrr.

AS: Like the idea of flyer on ground that can hand out. $50 worth of flyer?

Also thinking about the buttons and 5 ways to act—that should be in every fucking gallery show- $50 worth of buttons and statement about our fee. – Acknowledge the crappy pay, but encourage people to act.

BR: Now that you say that, while I really like “The Aesthetics of Resistance are not Here,” if A&L’s participation in this show is to reach art workers, its not very generous. How does it organize or build solidarity? (could even alienate other AW’s in show)… Five ways is softer, more generous in spirit. A bitter fit because of that? WE could also include index cards where we ask people to tell us what issues they feel A&L could be addressing. Still, part of me just wants to yell and scream about shows that try and represent social movements.

PC: Flyers on wall at Whitney- Sharon Hayes.  Hmmm… (discussion about pros and cons of that show)

What do we all think now?

CT- torn. Leaning toward 5 ways. But also really like statement too.

BW – Likes the aesthetics of resistance are not here, but only if title of show

PC- likes   5 ways

MB-: Wants something more generative and performative- survey in gallery.

BR- is torn—leaning 5 ways

AS- like generative—5 ways ok

BR: Agreed on something on 5 ways with something generative.

AS: will ask what the title is.


There is an O13 action spoke on Friday.

We will coordinate a spot to meet and be together on Saturday. Bring good signs! Maybe we will swirl.

We don’t think that we have enough time to do Debt Squares.

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