The Labor Issue: Questionnaire

Image result for Art Workers Coalition (AWC)'s "Art Workers Won't Kiss Ass" (1969),

Art Workers Coalition (1969), New York, NY. Photo: Mehdi Khonsari.

In the eighties and nineties there was a lot of talk about “services” and “administration” as new forms of labor being embraced by contemporary artists. These were characterized by art theorists (Benjamin Buchloh, Boris Groys and Nicholas Bourriard, to name a few) as outgrowths of conceptual art’s occupation of language and the supplement over and above the production of objects. Artists such as Andrea Fraser, at the center of a generation of artists tending toward ephemeral and temporary installations or performances, helped not only to explain this shift but also addressed the precarious state such a shift placed artists in as their roles migrated from producing objects to rendering services. Today the artist’s multivalent role as a producer is taken as a given. This is as much a result of our shifting economic conditions, as of evolving cultural expectations. The artist’s mobility as a laborer can no longer be thought of simply as an extension of the “art work” rethought—as it was in the conceptual practices of the seventies. Rather, the artist increasingly finds herself preoccupied by a variety of roles—teacher, writer, curator, maintenance worker, school administrator, marketer, fund raiser, etc.—whatever sort of “art work” it is she thinks of as the ultimate fruits of her labor. For this questionnaire we sought responses to and accounts of the artist within this condition of dispersed labor. We circulated a version of this preamble along with six questions. The responses are posted below in alphabetical order (an artist biography follows each submission). Submissions are published with minimal edits.

Sara Black & Amber Ginsburg | Critical Art Ensemble | Robert Davis | Harrell Fletcher | Michelle Grabner | Matthew Metzger | Boru O’Brien O’Connell | Karen Reimer | Tyler Rowland

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Sara Black & Amber Ginsburg

NOTE:  These answers are from two of us, Amber Ginsburg (AG) and Sara Black (SB) and the answers we give reflect the collaborative work we do together. These answers are in an interview format that took place between us in an online conversation. 

Is there a clear demarcation between how you “make your living” and your art practice?

AG: Yes and no. I teach in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago and as such, my role as teacher is prefaced. However, my employment is linked to my productivity. If I was not able to show an active “research agenda,” I would not be able to teach. And this slippage is reflected in my work/life balance or imbalance. The outcome, in terms of time, is that there is very little demarcation and I lean towards working all the time.

SB: Yes, my circumstances are similar to yours, Amber, in that I am a full-time professor of art and have to maintain an active professional practice and strong “evidence of outside recognition” in order to move through the renewal process and receive tenure. I do feel a strong dependence on my job for financial security. Significantly, I did decide very early on that I would ‘unburden’ my practice from market pressures by supporting myself financially as an educator. This is responsive to the nature of my/our work, which often has a durational, process-oriented or site-responsive component that renders it ‘unsaleable’ in certain ways. (Though of course, the contemporary art world has found myriad ways to sell the ephemeral). I don’t think of my pedagogical role at school as “artistic labor,” though I do acknowledge the role as creative. I am certain that the rigorous conversations unfolding all around me on a daily basis feed my/our work.

AG: I am much more agnostic about the possibility of selling work. I come from a ceramic tradition, rather than a contemporary art gallery background and I have seen mutual support between the work of gallerists and artists, both trying to make a living and supporting the liveliness of handmade objects against the pressures of mass production. Handmade cups are often $50 and you can also get a perfectly functional cup for a $1 at Dollar General. That gap is breached through an active relationship between maker and user, and the gallerist connects the two.

SB: I recognize the straightforwardness of that, and am not against selling something, per se, but to be dependent on whatever income would be generated through the commoditization of my work either for life or continued practice, I hope to always avoid. This distinction has always been easy enough and the work adequately funded, with few exceptions. I/we have found support for the work and practice through non-profit or independent arts organizations (museums, project spaces, etc) at least in terms of exhibition. Grants and fellowships have funded the production of the work. I believe that my relationship to my practice is healthier, as I do not feel a pressure to sell my persona, my objects or my authority in exchange for cash to pay bills, feed my family or myself. I find that it also reduces complication with collaborators, as the productive outcomes of our work together do not then become “private property” that is ½ owned by each of us and has a value that is monetizable.

AG: I agree and find a good fit in NFPs and independent art spaces. I also think University galleries are amazing places to show and have connections with students. I don’t know if I ever told you this Sara, but I have a story about pricing my work. When I left pottery, I left hard, with a clear and loud understanding that I needed to leave the economy of pottery behind me. It is an economy that fit way too neatly into my well-versed family economy. In pottery, I could measure out my time and labor, creating objects that, by size, I could sell for specific price points. I don’t want so narrow a way of thinking through money with you or for myself. Transitioning from pottery, what my hands were habituated to doing, and going back to school to make the things I was dreaming about, was my way of  dreaming big. And that meant leaving the market cold-turkey.

Then, right after going back to school and leaving the pesky question of value out of view for a while, I was approached by a museum to buy a work, which was made collaboratively. The sale didn’t happen, but I had to come up with a way of thinking about this before I was ready. I took a broad labor view. I decided artists should make a living wage, which for me at the time, with my family of five, was $40,000. I set the price of the work by dividing the number of projects I made in a year and multiplied that by the number of collaborators on the project, which valued that particular work at $16,000. Voilà. A formula. Of course, if this comes up, let’s talk about it, as we always do!

SB: Yes, it’s not uncomplicated. I suppose that’s why a clean line has always been a bit easier for me. I should say that I do get paid for my work all the time. I’ve gotten large and small grants and project support through myriad institutions. With only a few exceptions more recently, I have not had to pay with my own money to support a project. BUT, there is no profit AND, we do a LOT of administrative work. We are our own managers. That’s real labor.

AG: So true. Our projects have been generously supported and, for the most part, paid for. But that is the material costs, not the labor, administrative or otherwise. I admire and understand your “clean-line” but recognize there is a history of unpaid and invisible labor. In my “formula”, this is a possibility of accounting for that labor. The feminist in me sees that unpaid labor is problematic, even if my needs are met through my teaching position. Markets have ignored the needs of labor and while I do not place my energy towards seeking markets, I do recognize that my lack of demand for compensation sets out a potentially impossible expectation.

We are getting to the core of value here, how resources are shared and this is divided, currently unequally, between the market and other forms of distribution, like government support, which has continued to shrink since I started making ten years ago when the Reagan-era cuts were already in place. And this brings me around to not only the generosity of the grants we have received, but the support of friends and family. Peer-to-peer online fundraising is born of the real gap in the market and governmental support and I am so grateful for the support we have received from friends and family.

Do you think about productive ways of integrating the various roles you perform as an artist and a laborer or do you make an effort to hold them apart?

SB: I am a parent, partner, teacher, artist and event organizer. At moments these different roles merge and that feels appropriate, at other moments, they are guarded and held apart, depending on: my needs/desires, the needs/desires of my counterparts, professional pressure or the circumstance of a unique opportunity. For example, last summer Amber and I were invited to do a residency at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in the Scottish Highlands. I had my son only four months prior. I was not interested, or even able, to be apart from my son and my partner at that stage, so the only way to make it work was to find a way to bring them with. My partner, Charlie, was so generous to take on the bulk of childcare during the days, while Amber and I worked (and I could continue to nurse because they were nearby). I’d then preserve evenings and weekends for Charlie and Gus. The work Amber and I were doing was a part of every conversation the five of us had and saturated our lives for that month, but we were also just very present with each other. There was a lot of blurriness between art and life practices. It was a cherished time for me and gave me a glimpse of how it might be possible to maintain my role as an artist, a teacher and a parent. Since returning home and back into our full-time job routines, we’ve participated in a nanny share. I have really felt the loss of my proximity to Gus.

AG: I remember being on the phone with Sara and hearing her voice in a moment, after Gus was born, when she just could not see any hope of doing our residency at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop. I wish I could say that that tone of deep conflicting passions wasn’t familiar to me. Like Sara, I have a lot of different public and private roles, including being the mother of three adult offspring. (I am testing this term, adult offspring, in my ever-search for a non-gendered term for those people to whom you have given birth and  who are now amazing and equal adults in an ongoing mother/no-longer child relationship). I knew her tone of voice because I knew the feeling of having to choose between different kinds of love pressed up against the limits of time.

I don’t want to be out of Sara’s parenting life, nor do I want an “art world” that excludes children. Of course I wanted Gus to be part of our working together and not just for Sara but for me. Scotland was an idyllic time. It is when we got home to our dispersed lives in the U.S. that shared  time with our families became so difficult. I recently had the opportunity to move to a new job and said to Sara, “As it is now, I might as well move. We will always get our work done, but I haven’t seen Gus in months.” In deciding to stay, we also decided to commit to more shared family time.

SB: It’s true that being a part of each other’s lives beyond the art practice enables us to do better work, maintain greater relationship stability, and experience greater well-being in our broader lives. I am sure that’s why I continue to collaborate… I do believe the work is richer (my collaborator’s ideas, thoughts, instincts create a form of healthy tension or resistance that my ideas, thoughts, instincts are challenged by), but I also just really love spending so much time with wonderful people. It feels like a life practice. I’m really grateful all the time for that. I should mention, too, that my collaborators have consistently made it possible for me to maintain my role as parent, artist and teacher in moments when I have felt I’ve had NO bandwidth to do so. It’s very easy to feel a sense of guilt in all directions: That I’m not being a good collaborator, parent, partner or teacher, because I am cutting the corners on all of them, and relying too heavily on my counterparts to pick up the slack. I try to imagine doing this level of engagement with these roles if I was working as a solo artist or was a single parent. I can’t imagine it. So yes, I think collaboration (and co-parenting as a form of collaboration, no matter what the arrangement) is a very productive way to integrate various roles.

Do you think of yourself as “making” works of art?

SB: We do make artworks and objects, yes, but we also “make” classes/workshops, social initiatives and events in our shared practices. We have both an exhibition practice and a teacher’s collective, which we co-founded, that leads power tool camps and design build projects for female identified and gender variant folks of all ages. The word ‘make’ in those cases does feel somewhat imprecise. I suppose I feel that way because of our associations of making with capitalist production and the fetish object. Many of the things we make are made in the same way that one makes dinner or makes the bed or makes love, but others are made in the way that raw materials are transformed into novel forms.

AG: I like the openness of the word making. One form of making we do is ‘material’ and leads to the proliferation of things in the world. And another is based in time, is more performative, and is housed in our bodies and memories. I just read a great book, Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer, in which she tries to reconcile her scientific background in botany, a field that is always hierarchical, with indigenous thinking, which is animist. I learned that in Potawatomi, all things are verbs until they are fashioned by human hands. Trees, water, land, mountains are all verbs with different forms. A table is a noun. In my collaboration with Sara, ‘collaboration’ is an active verb form, changing shape and purpose. In the projects we make, we attempt to position materials so that they don’t become nouns, static, but help us think through geologic history the way a mountain does.

SB: Yes, that’s right. The forms we make aren’t much like the forms that have and continue to emerge from industrialized labor under capitalism (though we are not such fools to suggest that we aren’t deeply enmeshed in the conditions of late and post-industrial capitalism in terms of service labor). The forms manifest with a kind of diversity that I think is suggestive of a material philosophy or lived practice.

How do the spaces or sites where you work inform your understanding of the labor you perform?

AG: I think of my work as site responsive. This means that nearly every decision is made in relation to the history of a site or specific material context. And space, for me is not limited to geography. Historically, scale has been gendered territory. When I went back to school, one of the first classes I took was “Women in Art”. It put me right off the miniature. Sara and I share a love of large scale projects, and that includes research time, processes and outcome.  All of these are linked to labor, lots of labor.

SB: It’s true that our work tends to be quite large scale, which influences the sites we are drawn to. We are builders in a broad sense of the word. I like very much to think about labor as one part of the ecosystem of entangled worlds that we humans share with all other things. Much like you were just saying, Amber, it is important in the work for us to engage with other members of that ecosystem in real time and witness various things unfold. Building, repair, charcoalization, dissemination are some examples of the myriad actions we engage to bring to light the ways we bump up against or entangle with other beings. Each site or place where we make work has its own ecosystem, and we are certainly not the only beings laboring within that ecosystem. It never feels right to enter an ecosystem and plop our human made objects into the place. Instead, it’s a kind of unfolding over a time. So yes, we highlight our ‘labor’ but significantly, we also highlight the labor of non-human beings in all of this ‘production.’

AG: Sara, yes, oh yes. The ideas we work through in our projects around the non-human relate back to my attempts to acknowledge invisible labor earlier in the conversation. For Verge, part of Fermentation Fest in the rolling hills of rural Wisconsin, we were joined by Lia Rousset and procured hardwood from the local timber industry. Then we worked with local carpenters of all levels to fabricate two hundred and twenty Aldo Leopold benches. While that shared human labor is certainly a consideration in our project, we are equally interested in thinking about how we can point to the ongoing work of non-humans within our systems.

Most of our volunteer carpenters and viewers were initially confused or even disquieted about the ultimate fate of the benches: during the exhibition, we disassembled the benches and, using kilns we built, turned them into charcoal, a form of pure carbon that is stable for up to 2000 years. When carbon rests as charcoal, CO2 is not added to the atmosphere and creates a pause, allowing for a moment to consider the ongoing work the non-human actors around us. The trees were locally harvested from forests we could see from sitting on the benches. Individually and collectively, they respire and, by doing so, labor on behalf of the biosphere. In a sense not just the trees but also the carbon which is at work, flowing through the entire ecosystem, from the bottom of the ocean through air, into a tree and into the soil.

Working with local farmer we are currently making biochar from the charcoalized benches. This soil amendment does not directly add nutrients to the soil, rather, the pure carbon creates microscopic structures perfectly suited as homes for  microorganisms. Biochar, which is mix of ground charcoal and compost, rich in microorganisms, add invisible laborers to the soil. Our hope was to integrate into the local ecology while referencing the larger carbon cycle, the labor of trees, the labor of carbon, microorganisms and all the unseen workers within our work/live world.

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Sara Black’s work uses conscious processes of carpentry and repair as a time-based method; diseased wood, inherited building materials or other exhausted objects as material; and creates works that expose the complex ways in which things and people are suspended in worlds together; often generating forms that push beyond human frames of reference. She works both individually and collaboratively. Sara is currently Assistant Professor of Sculpture at SAIC. http://www.sarablack.org/

Together with collaborators, Amber Ginsburg creates site-generated projects and social sculpture that insert historical scenarios into present day situations. Her background in craft orients her projects towards the continuities and ruptures in material, social, and utopic histories. She teaches in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. http://amberginsburg.com/

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Critical Art Ensemble

Is there a clear demarcation between how you “make your living” and your art practice?

CAE: Yes. We all have straight jobs to pay the bills. However, we have also been lucky in that our practice has taken us all over the world and allowed us to produce a wide variety of projects on a wide variety of topics, and we have yet to pay anything to do that. In our art, we function far more on our own terms then we do in our jobs, but this isn’t to say that there hasn’t been a lot compromise and negotiation. Friction will be part of the process of any exchange of value.

Do you think of yourself as “making” works of art?

CAE: No. “Making” is not the right verb. We associate that too much with fabrication, and we do very little of that. Moreover, we are not masters of materials associated with the specialization of art. We also only tentatively make art. What we do is interpreted as many different things—activism, social work, theater, science, sociology, etc.—art is only one possibility. We let the audience decide. We would say that we perform cultural actions, interventions, and provocations. Other verbs we would associate with this kind of work are conceptualizing, producing, managing, writing, directing, appropriating, liberating, estimating, investigating, and planning.

Do you think about productive ways of integrating the various roles you perform as artists and as laborers, or do you make an effort to hold them apart?

CAE: Being an artist is a subcategory (a specific type) of being a laborer. “Artist” then has its subspecializations, and most can’t be eliminated from the process or a project can’t be completed. Unfortunately, we have never figured out how to extract ourselves from the less exciting labor we must perform. We would be pleased not to have to participate in the necessary bureaucratic and technocratic labor. However, there are roles one can avoid pending a person’s decisions about process. Thankfully, we have managed to avoid maintenance work—perhaps the best practical reason for doing ephemeral work. And we don’t do marketing—not just because it’s objectionable, but because it’s damaging to the work we do. We want our actions to be discovered, not attended. We want to constantly meet new people, rather than cultivate a devoted audience. It’s best to keep our activities secret until after the fact, and even then we don’t market them; we just make them available. We also don’t have to worry about schmoozing. No meals or studio visits with patrons. We do understand the trade-off. Those who successfully follow the marketing route do not have to do any of the mundane drudgery. They hire other workers to do it.

How do the spaces or sites where you work inform your understanding of the labor you perform?

CAE: Wherever we are working, most of the time we sit in offices in front of screens pushing keyboard buttons. That’s pretty telling and quite easy to understand. Then there is a lot of technical drudgery. But then there are pleasurable learning moments, both experiential out-in-the-world, and reflective through new frames of reference. And, of course, there is the joy when a project launches and (successfully?) ends. The work space in conjunction with point of process functions as a good index of the alienation level we associate with our labor.

Then there is fieldwork. Now the space has tremendous influence in how we work. The geography and its inscriptions (the territory), in combination with the localized social constellations, radically inform what we do and how we do it.

To what extent is your labor shared with or conveyed to your viewers?

CAE: Most of the time we do not call attention to the labor that went into a project. No one wants or needs to know how many emails we wrote or how many meetings we took. We usually want our audiences thinking about other subjects. Although there is one exception—when we do work that appears to be very difficult, but isn’t. Many artists interested in biotechnology are using processes, materials, and equipment generally associated with science. To someone unfamiliar with such things, their use can appear pretty impressive, and some do not discourage this perception. In our work on biotechnology, we we wanted to demystify the process and show that we, and others, were just following recipes that anyone could follow with minimal training. In this case, we would reveal the drudgery of the lab, either by having one on site, or, when we could not do that, showing a video about our process.

Do you find that there are ready forums—e.g. working groups, professional conferences, exhibition platforms—wherein your role as a laborer can be addressed?

CAE: We don’t know, because it’s not a prioritized subject for us. With all the crises currently haunting the earth, the mundane is toward the back of the line. This is not to say that if an exhibition on labor were to come our way, we would not participate. It’s not as if we have any objection to investigating the subject. If no one were to do so, we would be ignorant of the very sorry state of twenty-first century labor. Everything that can go wrong is going wrong for the overwhelming majority of workers. Labor has been dissected into its smallest units and reconfigured into formations that primarily benefit labor costs for owners and investors, while maximizing precarity for, and extracting wealth from, both skilled and unskilled labor. To return to your question, it’s what is absent that is more telling than what is present, and what is absent are organizations that allow for the political expression of labor power. In the arts, the absence borders on comedy. Unions and guilds are things of the past. Artists who have a more intimate relationship with economic power have no interest in such organization, since it weakens their market value. Those without this relationship have no leverage. The luxury market, where art continues to survive, couldn’t care less about those who work outside the sphere of investment. The more finance capital becomes the dominant form of late capital, the more the art market must reflect this back by functioning primarily as investment instruments. CAE has to wonder whether finance labor in the art world has surpassed that which focuses on aesthetic production.

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Critical Art Ensemble is a collective of five tactical media practitioners of various specializations including computer graphics and web design, film/video, photography, text art, book art, and performance.Formed in 1987, CAE’s focus has been on the exploration of the intersections between art, critical theory, technology, and political activism. The group has exhibited and performed at diverse venues internationally, ranging from the street, to the museum, to the internet. Museum exhibitions include the Whitney Museum and the New Museum in NYC; the Corcoran Museum in Washington D.C.; the ICA, London; the MCA, Chicago; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; and the London Museum of Natural History. http://critical-art.net/

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Robert Davis

Is there a clear demarcation between how you “make your living” and your art practice?

I am a unicorn. I am for all intents and purposes a studio assistant. My official title is “Fabrication Manager.” I help make objects for an artist who has a tremendous amount of institutional, critical and commercial success. It just so happens that my employer and I have been the best of friends for 20 year. I consider him my brother.  We went to college together, we showed at the same galleries for a time and collaborated on many projects before he became my employer. Is there a demarcation? Yes, my work is very different from his, both visually and conceptually.  Is there a demarcation? No, we talk everyday about our concerns and intentions when it comes to both of our work. It is a unique and fortunate situation.

Do you think of yourself as “making” works of art?

I am very much a maker. I make traditional objects for my practice and for my employer.

Do you think about productive ways of integrating the various roles you perform as an artist and a laborer or do you make an effort to hold them apart?

There is a natural integration between my labor and my practice. I am constantly making art objects for my employer and myself. I’m not sure it would even be possible to hold them apart.

How do the spaces or sites where you work inform your understanding of the labor you perform?

I work in a studio, museums and galleries…

To what extent is your labor shared with or conveyed to your viewers?

0 % : my viewers may never know that I work for the guy who just had a show at MOMA. 100% : because most of my viewers probably know that I work for the guy who just had a show at MOMA.

Do you find that there are ready forums—e.g. working groups, professional conferences, exhibition platforms—wherein your role as a laborer can be addressed?

Years ago I worked for a fine arts college. They would have annual employee exhibitions. I’m not sure if these exhibitions ever expressed any of the participants roles as laborers but it did acknowledge that they worked at the institution. I have never heard of a conference or working group.

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Robert Davis has mounted solo exhibitions at Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy), Retrospective Gallery (Hudson, NY), Bill Brady KC (Kansas City, MO), Half Gallery (New York City) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL). He was featured in group exhibitions at The Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh, PA) and the former NYC galleries Untitled Gallery and Dodge Gallery. Davis received his BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he taught for 10 years. He is a recipient of the 2004 and 2007 Chicago Artadia Grant awards. Born in Virginia in 1970, Davis currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

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Harrell Fletcher

Do you think of yourself as “making” works of art?

Yes, but I’m not super attached to that idea, under certain circumstances I’d be fine calling various examples of my work just videos, newspapers, posters, events, activities, writing, publishing, editing, collecting, walking, teaching, learning, talking, etc. etc. For me art is not intrinsic, it’s just a construct that is sometimes useful and sometimes not.

Do you take your status as a producer or laborer to be itself a concept you interrogate in your work?

Yes, sometimes. 

Do you distinguish between the kinds of labor you perform?

Yes, but not really in terms of value, it just sometimes takes different forms—thinking, walking, teaching, curating, writing, etc. 

Is there a clear demarcation between how you “make your living” and your art practice?

No. 

Do you think about productive ways of integrating the various roles you perform as an artist and a laborer or do you make an effort to hold them apart?

Very integrated.

Do you find that there are ready forums—e.g. working groups, professional conferences, exhibition platforms—wherein your role as a laborer can be addressed?

Yes.

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Harrell Fletcher received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from California College of the Arts. He studied organic farming at UCSC and went on to work on a variety of small Community Supported Agriculture farms, which impacted his work as an artist. Fletcher has produced a variety of socially engaged collaborative and interdisciplinary projects since the early 1990 ’ s. His work has been shown at SFMOMA, the de Young Museum, the Berkeley Art Museum, the Wattis Institute, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, The Drawing Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Sculpture Center, The Wrong Gallery, Apex Art, and Smack Mellon in NYC, DiverseWorks and Aurora Picture show in Houston, TX, PICA in Portland, OR, CoCA and The Seattle Art Museum in Seattle, WA, Signal in Malmo, Sweden, Domain de Kerguehennec in France, The Tate Modern in London, and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. He was a participant in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Fletcher has work in the collections of MoMA, The Whitney Museum, The New Museum, SFMOMA, The Hammer Museum, The Berkeley Art Museum, The De Young Museum, and The FRAC Brittany, France. From 2002 to 2009 Fletcher coproduced Learning To Love You More, a participatory website with Miranda July. Fletcher is the 2005 recipient of the Alpert Award in Visual Arts. His exhibition The American War originated in 2005 at ArtPace in San Antonio, TX, and traveled to Solvent Space in Richmond, VA, White Columns in NYC, The Center For Advanced Visual Studies MIT in Boston, MA, PICA in Portland, OR, and LAXART in Los Angeles among other locations.

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Michelle Grabner

Is there a clear demarcation between how you “make your living” and your art practice?

They are one and the same for me. I was inspired early on by artist Ben Kinmont who has a project called: Sometimes a nicer sculpture is being able to provide a living for your family.

Do you think of yourself as “making” works of art?

No. I just think of myself as working.

Do you think about productive ways of integrating the various roles you perform as an artist and a laborer or do you make an effort to hold them apart?

I simply do the work that needs to be done. Sometimes that is vacuuming and sometimes that is drawing. Today, for example, it was writing a catalog essay for a friend and prepping for teaching. At the end of the week I am in the foundry.

How do the spaces or sites where you work inform your understanding of the labor you perform?

I try to identify as many spaces as possible for work. Classroom, clean studio, messy studio, garage, backyard, my bed (where I do all my writing), in hotel rooms, in my cottage garden. Various sites and conditions help me understand how context influences my work and how various environments alter the material conditions of work.

To what extent is your labor shared with or conveyed to your viewers? 

Much of the visual and material vocabulary in my work can be actually measured and counted. But if I am not interested in adding those figures up, I wouldn’t expect the viewer to do so.

Do you find that there are ready forums—e.g. working groups, professional conferences, exhibition platforms—wherein your role as a laborer can be addressed?

So far in my life I have been contented with the conventional frames of labor and production; their inherent social conditions, their measures of success, and their temporalities. These include: home, studio, and school.

Michelle Grabner has been professor at the Art Institute of Chicago since 1996. She has served as visiting faculty at Yale University, Bard College and University of Pennsylvania. Her writing has been published in Artforum, Modern Painters, Frieze, Art Press, and Art-Agenda, among other publications. Most recently, she was featured in her first comprehensive solo museum exhibition at MOCA Cleveland (2013–2014). Other solo exhibitions have been held at INOVA, The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (2012); Ulrich Museum, Wichita (2008); and University Galleries, Illinois State University, Normal (2006). She has been included in group exhibitions at Tate St. Ives, United Kingdom (2011); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2001); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2009); and Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2008), among others. She co-curated the 2014 Whitney Biennial with Stuart Comer and Anthony Elms.  http://www.michellegrabner.com/

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Matthew Metzger

Do you think of yourself as “making” works of art?

No. Absolutely not. I don’t feel as though art can be “made.” I define art as the transformative result from a moment of negotiation between labels, possibilities, and limitations. Therefore, art can not simply be made / defined by a single individual in their studio at the moment of its “making.” If so, that would clearly negate the social power that I still like to believe art has. The ‘tone’ of such a negotiation can sometimes be liberating, sometimes oppressive, sometimes humorous, sometimes exhausting, but always crucial. The idea that one can “make” art, to me, turns art into an object of capital. Art is then designed, colored, packaged, and sold. “Art-objects” don’t exist, only objects that perhaps retain a more piercing potential for instigating the type of art I’m describing (objects effected with this type of definition in mind that can cut through various layers of defined meaning in an effort to instigate critical questions in relation to its viewers). Art is between viewers / objects / spaces and therefore must always be agreed upon, or at least debated. At best the ‘artist’ can aim to “make” something that they believe may instigate art. I try and get as close as I can to art when I am making. Proximity is everything.

Do you take your status as a producer or laborer to be itself a concept you interrogate in your work?

Yes. It’s very hard for me to think about labor and pleasure together. Labor is work under the demands of life and capital. Labor is a way of pricing one’s work. “Making” however can be very pleasurable and productive. Making is about merging one’s ideology and feelings with objects, spaces, and others. Making is saturated with one’s intention to build, construct, magnify, and express ideas that expand on one’s position in life. Labor invoices. So I try and interrogate the politics and power structures involved when “making” is stripped down to pure labor. This line of questioning reminds me of the chapter ‘“Making Do”: Uses and Tactics’ in Michel De Certeau’s book The Practice of Everyday Life when he is describing the notion of la perruque and the degrees of “making” that can occur within oppressive cultural frameworks. When speaking about a North African appropriating Parisian customs in order to make room for his own way of life while living in Paris under the laws and rules of French culture, De Certeau remarks that “he creates for himself a space in which he can find ways of using the constraining order of the place or of the language. Without leaving the place where he has no choice but to live and which lays down its law for him, he establishes within it a degree of plurality and creativity. By an art of being in between, he draws unexpected results from his situation.”[1]

Do you distinguish between the kinds of labor you perform?

No. I consider labor to have a very specific connotation that removes the possibility of “types” within it. Labor is a very distinctive action that is both defined and constrained by money. I think the phrasing here in the question posed—of “performing labor”—is apt. Due to the constraints of life and capital, the value of our labor is already predetermined. At best I feel as though all we can do is re-perform those value systems over and over again. If there is room for creativity and expression to occur within this re-performance then I would argue that one is making not laboring. Naturally the complication occurs when one “makes” under the rubric of labor forces; forces that work to “manage” creativity instead of remaining vulnerable through its propagation. Thus, the laborer must enact precisely what De Certeau points out: la perruque, in an effort to carve out space within labor structures to sustain one’s selfhood. The better a performer one is, the larger space one can carve out without the threat of its dismantling either by economy or culture.

Is there a clear demarcation between how you “make your living” and your art practice?

Yes. At least I continue to hope so despite the demarcation seemingly growing hazier and hazier. I think such a demarcation is imperative for a sustained studio practice. Yet with the perpetuation of the art fair as a growing core for so many artists to show what they make (often for the first time), it feels as though art making is unabashedly tethered to and dependent on market economies, labor unions, and aftermarket sales statistics. What an artist makes becomes framed by what the art fair allows. While what the art fair allows influences what the artist thinks about, certainly not intentionally but conditionally. There is no context more aggressive about price and value than the art fair, and as we like to continue to imagine that labor (any kind…mental, physical, emotional, etc.) is an important factor in deciding a work’s value, the art fair is there to remind us that it no longer matters, neither conceptually nor economically. I digress here because the art fair is also where I am confronted over and over with who someone is by what they do. How they make a living and in turn the economic power they have to support or reject those who make. In the eyes of whom I stand in front of, I am either a maker or their laborer. I can feel it.

Do you think about productive ways of integrating the various roles you perform as an artist and a laborer or do you make an effort to hold them apart?

I have been trying very hard to avoid being a laborer these days. Holding them apart seems to be the only option, but it takes a tremendous amount of effort. I do this because in my mind currently, the idea of integrating them feels like a lost cause. The perpetual lock and key that Capitalism places on my life is too substantial. I have grown sick of the performance and I currently have no answer for an alternative route to take besides the retreat. That’s why I go to therapy every week, to try and understand more acutely whom I am laboring for, why, and to what end? Is Capitalism’s hold a mere diversion from facing deeper questions about insecurity, vulnerability, and doubt that stem from my childhood or is it the reason I have such feelings?

Do you find that there are ready forums—e.g. working groups, professional conferences, exhibition platforms—wherein your role as a laborer can be addressed?

Very few. Certainly there are many artists who continue to work extremely hard towards upending such upside down perspectives. However, I continue to see various projects, with such a core focus as labor, get eaten up by the market and its spectators. I’m still trying to understand how to navigate my intentions through such a cancerous sludge without losing my ethics and without 1,000 W-2’s each year.     

Matthew Metzger (b. 1978) lives and works in Chicago. He attended the University of Chicago and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Residency Program, and is on faculty at The University of Illinois at Chicago. His most recent solo exhibitions include Regards, Chicago; Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; and Arratia Beer, Berlin. Recent group exhibitions include Retrograde, Logan Center Exhibitions, Chicago; The Freedom Principle, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; and The Works, CAB Art Center, Brussels.

[1] De Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988, 30.

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Boru O’Brien O’Connell

Is there a clear demarcation between how you “make your living” and your art practice?

Not a simple answer. Philosophically, yes. Empirically, no. I have traditionally used a camera to make my living, as I have to make much of my art. That would be the end of it if it save issues of authorship, which are central to published photographs, especially editorial ones, despite the fact that I think in many, lets say most, cases of market-based imagery, the photographer is merely a technician and subjectivity is an academic notion. This is evinced by the ‘second shooter’- a high profile photographer’s assistant who shoots photos on bigbudget campaigns which are then attributed to the photographer.

Do you think of yourself as “making” works of art?

Yes. I make things on my own, mostly photographs and videos, with quite a bit of attention to craft. I also commission others to fabricate or realize things that I can’t make with my skillset. In the latter case, I’m quite controlling if I can afford to be.

Do you think about productive ways of integrating the various roles you perform as an artist and a laborer or do you make an effort to hold them apart?

Where do I begin. Photography as a trade and technology always informs my art to greater or lesser degree. Its history, tropes, problems, etc, find a way into my thinking. Plus, the implicit or explicit relationship it bears to commerce is somewhat special. But to shuttle between those two aspects of the practice can be confusing and problematic. Perhaps in one you’re the author of self-reflexive photographic questions directed toward the medium, or simply using not using photography at all. In another you’re the ‘laborer/photographer’, but perhaps different from being a set-builder or an art-handler, you are again an author but under different  motives. I do not use  similar visual language, or even mediums, between roles as Photographer and Artist, unlike most photographers who have made this transition. Even though ‘editorial’, as differentiated from ‘commercial’ or, more accurately, advertising photography, is the ostensible realm of the ‘artist commission,’ primarily because bylines are presented on those commissions unlike advertisements. And despite what I said about the role of authorship in editorial photography,  set-builders can build a set and models will do their job and lighting designers may light something and re-touchers will make the image look entirely different and still the nominal credit, the associated authorship goes to the photographer. Often  the person who did the least and contributed zero input, but merely showed up.

I’m not really interested in the fluidity of commercial and art photography per se, because that’s a horse that’s been beaten to death. But I am interested in what that fluidity is predicated on in the minds of those who discuss it. To me, an interest in fluidity has to do with  branding and voice and style and for a long time the art world has just been a giant mood board for the advertising world. In the case of a ‘commission,’ it makes sense that you would hire a visual artist specifically for their brand identity, but somehow over the years I ended up with two identities on very different ends of two spectrums. So, in my particular case, I think while the ideas between my art and my labor can often be integrated, I still try to hold the two apart, because on a purely visual level they typically share absolutely nothing.

It’s a paradox. I’ve always felt that artists/photographers who pointedly turn down commissions are operating from a place of privilege. Taryn Simon is famously rumoured to have scrubbed the web of her editorial photography once she gained exposure as an artist.

In the instance of my own personal labor (and I would say I’m somewhat anomalous in this regard as a photographer who does both sides) my art does not inform the labor, or my thinking about the labor. Except perhaps that the camera almost operates in the Flusserian sense to me, as an apparatus carrying out its program.

I think I often make work that is about a slippage of control. I guess that includes control over art making. The difference between the intent and the resultant product is always interesting to me, because in the case of a tightly honed final product, it still betrays a personal or humanistic framework.

How do the spaces or sites where you work inform your understanding of the labor you perform?

It’s funny because considering the previous questions, this one  doesn’t demarcate ‘work’ as either ‘making your living’ or ‘art practice’.

In art meaning often relies upon context. Context is also the perennial qualifier of those deeming what is cool or good or engaging or complicated or worthy of investigation. In sites of art making, I think a good portion of the site informs the labor and the labor informs the site. It all informs the work as you desire.

To what extent is your labor shared with or conveyed to your viewers?

I don’t always make the labor I carry out as an editorial photographer visible, as such, but I often do try to make the subtext of trade and craft visible in there somewhere. The preciousness, the object, the program.

Do you find that there are ready forums—e.g. working groups, professional conferences, exhibition platforms—wherein your role as a laborer can be addressed?

I live in New York, so I can only guess that yes there are. However it’s not something that I spend much time pursuing because I have see myself with such a particular relationship to labor that I don’t find discussed often. You don’t meet many people making a performance piece for a theater and commissioning a sculpture for a show, who also happen to be ‘commercial’ photographers.

http://www.boruobrienoconnell.com/

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Karen Reimer

Is there a clear demarcation between how you “make your living” and your art practice?

Yes and no. I earn some money as an artist, but certainly not enough to live on. I work 4/5ths time for wages and health insurance at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, a small contemporary art museum. I work making the museum’s publications/catalogues. I enjoy this work. I also work as the museum’s registrar, which I enjoy much less.

No: there is not a clear distinction because my work at the museum is cultural production, as is my work as an artist. It’s all part of the art world. The distinction is also blurred for me because working at the museum contributes to my on-going education, putting me in extended contact with artworks—I look at the same exhibitions for a couple of months—and as an editor I do close readings of the critical writings the museum commissions about the exhibition artwork for the catalogues. This artwork and these ideas sometimes influence my art practice.

I also do very part-time work as an advisor to graduate students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  I enjoy this as well, and feel that it contributes to my art practice by keeping me in touch with other artists and working together with them to articulate thought about their own and others’ art.

Yes: there is a clear distinction in the sense that while my labor at the museum and as a teacher may influence my artwork, I do not consider it part of my artwork. It’s a job. There is creativity in my work as an editor and a teacher (the last thing anyone wants in a registrar is creativity), and that makes it interesting, but it is not the same thing as similar (usually unpaid) work my artist colleagues might do when they, for example, curate exhibitions or run a gallery as a way to explore aesthetic and/or sociopolitical ideas, or just give artwork they admire a showing. I don’t have the level of creative control over my work for the museum that would make me to identify it as my artwork.

Do you think of yourself as “making” works of art?

Yes. I produce objects. I use very labor-intensive methods, based on traditional craft techniques. These methods make objects through a cumulative process, and require carefulness and attention to detail, and are therefore very slow. My work is egregiously slow.  In a world where everyone is as busy as we all are, it is really unreasonable to do work this way.  Completely inefficient. Machines can do this kind of craft work, and they can do it better than I do.

In “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism,” E.P. Thompson describes how the regimentation and standardization of time were necessary for the development of industrial capitalism.

For me choosing to work slowly, to make a prodigal expenditure of my labor, is a resistance to Fordism and Taylorism—the regimentation of time and bodies.  I’d like to say that one cannot make a one-to-one exchange between my labor and money.

Making the same small hand gesture, taking the same stitch over and over, sort of undoes time.  Makes it circular rather than linear.  We know time is passing because we compare one moment to the next. If every moment is the same for long enough, that stops the measurement of time.

I don’t want to say that everyone should work this way. I know that many people experience this kind of laborious craftwork as torture, but I don’t–I enjoy it.  It’s too elevated to call it meditative, but its something like that.

Also let me be clear that this is an experiment that is located in the specific economics of the art world. I absolutely do not think labor unions should stop negotiating for their members’ labor being equated with a higher hourly wage as a way to protest the regimentation of time and bodies.  The labor of making art is not the same thing as the labor of digging ditches.

Do you think about productive ways of integrating the various roles you perform as an artist and as a laborer or do you make an effort to hold them apart?

I don’t put a lot of energy into either integrating them or holding them apart. Perhaps I am not being deliberate enough about my life, but it just seems like an impossible task to control this.

How do the spaces and sites where you work inform your understanding of the labor you perform?

Interpreting “work” in this question to mean what I do to earn money, and “labor” to mean what I do to make art: I think working in a museum made me get more interested in considering how value is determined in the art world—you can’t escape noticing the arbitrariness and market-manipulation—and that led me use physical hand-work as a way to contrast and compare criteria of valuation by the art world and the larger world, as well as how that criteria of valuation has changed over time.

Alternatively, interpreting both “work” and “labor” to be my artistic practice: I take it for granted that all artwork is affected by it site, both physically and conceptually.  It makes a difference if my work is exhibited in a not-for-profit or for-profit gallery, a community art center or a major museum, and I’m sure that that understanding is shared by other artists.

I have for some time been experimenting with making art objects that are meant to also be useful objects in private domestic spaces. I hope to make objects that simultaneously exist within two different conceptual spaces, which have both use value and art value.   I have made some objects that are conceptually and physically site-specific in an extremely narrow way, for example, the object might only make conceptual sense/have meaning in a particular individual’s kitchen.  It has an audience of only one or two people.

Pushing my work toward the useful is an impulse to find some way to give my artwork some value besides the financial value determined by the art market. This is a little hollow in that I am not being paid huge amounts for my work.  But the art world is in bed with big money and I am part of the art world.  See Andrea Fraser’s article Le 1%, Cest Moi, which analyzes how the greater the income gap, the better the art world does.  So I feel, possibly futilely, that my work having use-value might be a way for it to exist within a different economy.

To what extent is your labor shared with or conveyed with your viewers?

I try to make the physical hand-labor in my work as visible as possible for the reasons given above. One of the reasons I like craft work is that it is both body-based and anti-heroic. It demonstrates skill rather than talent.  There is no such thing as a genius embroidery stitch, like there are genius painterly gestures. With craft, the better you do it the more identical each stitch is.  So for me, craft work is a way to be able to have the hand/body/physical work be part of art-making, but to not a.) fall into the old modernist trope of mastery/genius or b.) fall into the opposing old minimalist/conceptualist trope that the physical work of art-making can and should be outsourced.

Do you find there are ready forums—e.g. working groups, professional conferences, exhibition platforms –wherein your role as a laborer can be addressed?

Well, Helen Molesworth’s show Work Ethic comes to mind as an example.  And I think Andrea Fraser is required reading for artists now. I don’t think there are a lot of artists who are interested in emphasizing physical work the way I am, but I think my interest in that is related to the changing nature of the work of artists, on the terms considered in this questionnaire.  I think the issue is both formally in conferences, exhibitions, etc., and informally in bars discussed quite a bit in the art world.

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Karen Reimer has a BA from Bethel College, Kansas, and an MFA from the University of Chicago. Her work is rooted equally in the traditions of domestic craft and the traditions of conceptual art. It has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Oregon; Wallspace, New York; Rochester Art Center, Rochester, MN; the Beirut Art Center, Lebanon; and De Appel Art Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands.  She is a recipient of the Artadia and Driehaus Foundation Individual Artist awards, and the Women’s Caucus for Art’s President’s Award. A monograph on her work titled Endless, was published by Whitewalls and Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois in 2015.  She is currently an Instructor in Fiber and Material Studies at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and Director of Publications at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.   Her work is represented by Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

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Tyler Rowland

This questionnaire prompted me to share a glimpse of my working life over the last 15 years, focusing only on artworks that were informed by this “banausic” reality.

I have worked since I was 16, which means for almost two-thirds of my life. Although I’ve done plenty of white collar service, pedagogical, and administrative work my artwork is not grounded in these aesthetics or processes. I am more concerned with what you might call the working class values of “making do” and using whatever is at hand—the “bricoleur” of Levi-Strauss’ Savage Mind (1962) and “la perruque” of de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life (1984).

I have always aimed to make life-specific artworks. As in Gustave Courbet’s The Realist Manifesto (1855), I attempt “to be not only a painter, but a man as well; in short to create living art—this is my goal.” My two major on-going projects are Artist’s Uniform, which turned the act of wearing clothes every day for 13 years into an artwork and The Realist Manifesto, which traces the development of the artist in relation to labor from Courbet’s The Stonebreakers to Duchamp’s In Advance of a Broken Arm to Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners and I.

During and after graduate school, I worked as a carpenter and artist assistant in Los Angeles with CalArts faculty members or their spouses or friends. While building a weekend surf house for a famous cinematographer in Malibu, I begin to collect refuse from the job site waste bin. I started to think about my new station—working a manual trade job with an advanced terminal degree. I often doubled as an art installer and had been wanting to fabricate by hand all the tools needed to install a group exhibition, and decided to do this with the trash I’d been collecting. One day when I was moving stones for the third or fourth time around the backyard, I remembered an art history lecture from my college days featuring Courbet’s The Stonebreakers (1850), one of the first paintings of the proletariat ever shown in the Paris Salon. Most people think this painting was destroyed in WWII during the firebombing of Dresden. Here was the perfect painting for which art installer tools made from trash would be waiting forever in vain to install. This was the first work in The Realist Manifesto, which continues to this day.

Another “inspiration” from Malibu was an ipe (a type of tropical hardwood) floor and wrap-around outside deck. We had to hand-cut, sand, and install more than a thousand plugs to hide the screws we’d used to attach all the boards. Time on our hands and knees brought to mind another painting, Gustave Caillebotte’s The Floor Scrapers (1875). In the meantime I’d moved to Boston where I lived in a former distillery built in the 1850s. There, I cut out two sections of my studio floorboards exactly the size of the aforementioned painting, scraped one clean, left the other one unaltered, nailed these back to back and mounted them at painting height in a structure I designed and built.

My first jobs in Boston were as a para-professional at Edward Everett Elementary School in Dorchester and part-time administrative assistant at a MIT cell biology lab. While at MIT, I saw a plaque on a building about Alexander Graham Bell’s first long-distance telephone call, which turned out to be from Boston to Cambridge. This weird fact led to a 3-year collaboration with Carla Herrera-Prats (at the time a Boston-based artist) and myself (a Cambridge-based artist).

Within a year I got a teaching fellowship at Harvard in the Visual and Environmental Studies Department. Working and living at Harvard—one of the most civilized places on earth—made me feel like a wild animal, and I returned to Edward Everett for How to Explain A Conceptual Artwork to a Class of Kindergartners, a private performance centered around a large flip book about my Artist’s Uniform project and my transition into being a zebra. After a year of living and working as a zebra at Harvard, I became the artist Gustave Courbet. Courbet did not believe that art could be taught, so it made sense that when I moved to Poughkeepsie to teach at my alma mater Vassar College I chose to live and dress as myself —whatever that means!

At Vassar, alongside teaching, I got involved in the recreation of a 13th century Spanish Madonna and Child sculpture with my student Rhys Bambrick. It was used in a procession for a symposium about the original Madonna sculpture and eventually purchased by Vassar’s Medieval art historian who still uses it, and a video diary we made about its production, to teach his lesson about the Madonna. Another collaboration involved five students and myself designing and building two sukkahs for Vassar’s 2011 Sukkot celebration.

Vassar’s sculpture tech assisted a Long Island artist with the fabrication of her large public stainless steel sculptures. Helping him during school breaks was pretty good pay over short periods and I got to further hone my metalworking skills. During this period, I hand-made the steel snow shovel pieces and sign for my Reno Family Fabricators installation.

After my contract expired, I was a full-time stay-at-home dad for almost three years. I have a studio in our living room and over the years our daughter has staked out her own area in it.  So my need to share knowledge and experience while implementing good study habits and techniques continues. And each day I am lucky that my daughter teaches me something about myself. My Lego versions of the BMPT (Buren Mosset Parmentier Toroni) Group paintings arose from playing with my daughter.

(To keep my sanity however I found myself designing over 80 humorous (and adult-themed) record cover albums for the artist Gary Cannone’s Albums by Conceptual Artists Tumblr site and tele-working with the art collective Galeria Perdida on a short-lived Tumblr site under the name Seesaw Gomez.)

I did take on a few freelance jobs including helping the Andy Warhol Foundation transfer their remaining artworks to Christie’s and move out of the Crozier warehouse in Chelsea. Some of the objects I received from the Warhol Foundation (a wooden Hercules sculpture, a German encyclopedia set with Warhol covers, lots of Warhol licensed “shwag”) will surely show up in my art.

For the last two years I have worked full-time as the BFA Fine Arts Operations Manager at SVA. My student worker crew and I designed and fabricated our own BFA Fine Arts Department Operations’ logo, flag, patches, and uniforms — plus a fun how-to video for the painting rack I designed. Slowly, my office has become an installation of artworks and objects found and reclaimed on the job. Most recently, I designed and printed in our Fibers lab wearable protest posters for my family for the January 21st Women’s March and the April 29th Climate March both of which we attended in DC. A bronze American flagpole and some neon light paint rollers are currently in the works.

Since I no longer teach art, I try to be an artist role model to my student workers and those around me, with the hope that I show them what it means to not only be an artist but also what it means to be a dad and a human—to create living art from my life and my work.

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Tyler Rowland (b. 1978 Reno, NV) was raised in Phoenix, AZ and lives and works in New York City.  He received his BA from Vassar College and his MFA from CalArts.  His work has been shown at Mass MoCA, Murray Guy Gallery, Jack Shainman Gallery, Black Ball Projects, Incident Report Viewing Station, Rosenwald—Wolf Gallery at The University of the Arts, Box 13 Artspace, ESL Projects, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, LACE, UNAM’s Casa del Lago, and Sala de Arte Publico Siqueiros.  Rowland’s thirteen year live artwork Artists Uniform was featured in Dan Fox’s Pretentiousness: Why It Matters (2016).  Rowland has taught art at Mass Art, Northeastern University, Vassar College, and SOMA Summer and has worked at Harvard University, MIT, and SVA.

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