The writers’ strike and a few other flaps have brought the idea of unions and regulation to the attention of artists and gallerists to a head. Winkleman and Green are the most recent, but The Intrepid Collector posted about this months ago.
The art world sees itself as the leading edge in social commentary. Maybe it is time for the artworld to take a proactive role in the world that it is commenting on and step up to the plate with an actionable course. We are, after all, not separate from our society. The solutions for the ethical problems of fair treatment of artworkers may not be based on the paradigms that already exist. It may be that, as artists and gallerists, we cannot model our solutions on the examples of other industries.
This problem cannot be broached without looking at the larger picture of artsworkers at every level. Most of the commentary to date would apply to a very small percentage of the art industry. Top earners have the resources to enforce their demands. Regulations and oversight would place a financial burden on the vast majority of those working in the arts, artists as well as gallerists.
Take, for instance, the simple idea of requiring galleries to inform artists of their collectors’ names and contact information. As an artist facing a gallerist, you might have to bring in a lawyer. Can you afford that? From the side of the gallerist, the artist must understand that a buyer is under no obligation to participate in this regulatory process and can refuse to release their contact information. At anything but the highest tier, this kind of thing happens frequently. The regulation is not something that can be enforced by a governing agency. It is, in effect, self-regulatory.
And this is just one instance.
I cannot see a solution for this problem. The only thing that I have is a notion that the solution may not be based on an existing model and that the solution must take into account the entire body of artsworkers, regardless of which tier they work in. We need a creative solution.
I stopped by SELLOUT right after i wrote this post. More on the above topic.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.