[artinfo] Fwd:

nicolas vass nicovass at gmail.com
Sat May 15 06:52:31 CEST 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Alicia Herrero <aherrero7 at yahoo.com.ar>
Date: Sat, May 15, 2010 at 4:42 AM
To: info at magazineinsitu.com



*"We don't really cherish our artists to the degree we should."*
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, quoted in the Evening Standard

As a grouping of national and international artists, we publicly challenge
No Soul For Sale (NSFS) at Tate Modern over the weekend of 14th-16th May

The title No Soul For Sale re-enforces deeply reductive stereotypes about
the artist and art production. With its romantic connotations of the soulful
artist, who makes art from inner necessity without thought of recompense, No
Soul For Sale implies that as artists we should expect to work for free and
that it is acceptable to forego the right to be paid for our labour.

It has come to our attention that many participants are not being paid by
Tate Modern for their efforts. In fact, most are self-funding their
activities throughout the weekend. Tate describes this situation as a
“spirit of reciprocal generosity between Tate and the contributors”. But at
what point does expected generosity become a form of institutional
exploitation? Once it becomes endemic within a large publicly funded art

Reciprocal generosity is the lifeblood of independent art communities
throughout the world. This spirit is not however the property of any one
institution, artist or curator and it is complacent for Tate to believe that
their position is comparable to ground level arts activity. It therefore
seems disingenuous for Tate to claim that their hosting of NSFS is somehow
altruistic or philanthropic. Tate publicly has the most to gain, yet we have
discovered that Tate’s reciprocity does not even extend to the provision of
basic resources, such as the use of chairs and tables for some of the
participants in NSFS. Tate will commercially benefit from NSFS through
increased audiences and the inevitable increase in the sale of books,
magazines, merchandise, refreshments, donations and exhibition entry fees.
Is the nature of this exchange really occurring on a level playing field? Is
the relationship as reciprocal as it could be?

As many of us in Making A Living have worked with Tate and other major art
galleries, we understand that the expectation of free labour and self
-funding is not exclusive to NSFS. During our discussions it has come to
light that Tate has not paid artists for some exhibitions, workshops and
events, including last year’s Tate Triennial, and that this policy has
existed over a considerable period of time, long before the current economic
crisis became an issue for arts institutions.

*We call for an end to this poor practice and manipulation of generosity as
Tate Modern celebrates its 10th birthday. We call on Tate to make public its
policy in regard to artists’ fees.*

If artists continue to work for free, or are expected to pay for their
efforts when working with our major art institutions, then we deny
opportunities to the great majority of artists who simply cannot afford to
take such financial risks. Tate and other major publicly funded galleries
risk spoiling their good work by unwittingly limiting their pool of future
exhibiting artists to individuals who can afford to pay for the privilege,
or who are content or able to work for little or no pay. If NSFS manages to
start a productive conversation about this 'elephant in the room' then we
think it may yet be described as a success.

(Making A Living: A discussion group of Arts professionals currently active
across the UK)
makingaliving at live.co.uk<http://ar.mc503.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=makingaliving@live.co.uk>

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