News comment - a-n The Artists Information Company

Alistair Gentry wearing an 'artist's costume' for Venice Agendas: The Contract commission. Courtesy: Alistair Gentry
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Working for free: what’s to like?

Artists are often asked to work for free in return for exposure via social media likes and audience praise, so for a recent commission (paid) Alistair Gentry decided to walk around Folkestone dressed in a cliched ‘artist’s costume’ asking other types of worker if they’d do the same. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they weren’t particularly keen.

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Katriona Beales, Are We All Addicts Now?, installation view, Furtherfield Gallery, London. Photo: Pau Ros; Courtesy: the artist and Furtherfield
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Ethics, art and technology: the need for a human-centred approach

At a recent symposium in London, academics, technologists, artists and film makers gathered to discuss the politics and ethics of art technology. Artist and writer Alistair Gentry attended and was struck by the need for a much closer relationship between the tech and ethical tendencies in this ongoing and vitally important debate.

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Protestors outside Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, on 23 October 2016. Photo: Chris Sharratt
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Ugly rumours: why Edinburgh’s Inverleith House has yet to be ‘saved’

When Inverleith House closed to the public last year, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh said it no longer intended to use it as a gallery for contemporary art. Now, as it hosts its first exhibition since the closure, Regius Keeper Simon Milne has said reports of its demise were just a “rumour”. Neil Cooper takes issue with this rewriting of history and cautions that the fight to truly save this renowned Scottish art gallery is far from over.

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1 Shanthi Road, Bangalore, artist residency space. L-R: Maurice Carlin, Clore Fellow; Suresh Jayaram, artist and founder-director 1 Shanthi Road; Jerrel Jackson, Clore Fellow; Archana Prasad, Clore Fellow and founder of Jaaga.  Courtesy: Maurice Carlin
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Platforms for change: what do artists really want from arts organisations?

The UK has the most highly developed arts infrastructure in the world. But, asks 2016-17 Clore Visual Artist Fellow Maurice Carlin in the first of two short provocations, imagine if it all disappeared overnight. Would it make a difference to your career? Would you still make art? And what do we want this infrastructure to do?

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Banu Cennetoğlu, BEINGSAFEISSCARY, 2017, various materials, Friedrichsplatz, Kassel, Documenta 14. Photo: Roman März
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Conserving contemporary art: practice, theory and the Documenta institute

In the midst of a growth in performative and participatory art at international art biennials, Documenta recently confirmed the site of a new permanent institute in Kassel. Inspired by an academic conference on conserving contemporary art, Laura Harris assesses the challenges the institute faces in a climate where the experiential is increasingly taking precedence over the art object.

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There There performing Text HOME at Experimentica in Cardiff (2014), having unpacked a single carry-on bag. Photo: Adam Chard
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Making rent, making work: the strapped for cash art

One half of the London-based performance company There There with Dana Olărescu, Bojana Janković argues that the economic pressures more and more artists face are ultimately shaping the kind of work that gets made, especially by emerging artists, with profound and long-term consequences.

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It Takes a Village: Models for Mother Artists event at Atelier Stroud, 23 April 2017, from 'Mother House' session with Dyana Gravina and Amy Dignam from ProCreate project. Photo: the Women's Art Activation System (WAAS)
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Models for mother artists: how to maintain your practice as a parent

Being a mother of young children and continuing your art practice is incredibly difficult. Inspired by a recent symposium exploring the challenges of being a ‘mother artist’, Frances Bossom – who presents a ‘Proposal for a Guide for Art Parents’ at June’s a-n Assembly event in Bristol – calls for an approach that values the complex reality of motherhood.

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Lubaina Himid, Naming the Money, 2004, installation view of 'Navigation Charts', Spike Island, Bristol, 2017. Photo: Stuart Whipps; Courtesy: the artist, Hollybush Gardens, and National Museums, Liverpool
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Turner Prize 2017: inclusion of over-50s reflects reality of artists’ careers today

Yesterday’s announcement of the 2017 Turner Prize shortlist saw two artists over 50 nominated – Hurvin Anderson and Lubaina Himid – reflecting the recent decision to drop its longstanding under-50 rule. Fisun Güner welcomes the change, arguing that it better reflects the reality of many artists’ careers while also ensuring a particularly strong line-up for this year’s prize.

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Rosalie Schweiker at  ‘Art is not a Commodity: Examining Economic Exceptionalism in Art’, ICA, London, 18 February 2017. Photo: Marysia Lewandowska. CC by 4.0
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No more fake orgasms: stop boosting the art world’s self-esteem

At the recent symposium, ‘Art is not a Commodity: Examining Economic Exceptionalism in Art’, Rosalie Schweiker argued that artists need to “stop faking orgasms” and instead start clearly vocalising their dissatisfaction with the art world. Here, we publish an edited version of her presentation.

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Poster by Perry Hoberman, available from https://www.haironfire.org/free-images-1/
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Midwestern blues: Trump, a polarised America, and the curse and opportunity of ‘interesting times’

As Washington DC prepares for the 20 January presidential inauguration and the rest of the world is gripped/appalled by the latest predictably narcissistic Donald Trump Twitter outburst, London-based artist Sonya Dyer – who was on a residency in Nebraska during the election – reflects on her US experience and considers what the new era means for art and artists.

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Pietro Lorenzetti, Christ between Saints Paul and Peter (c.1320), installation view, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
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Saints preserve us: Ferens Art Gallery and why culture should be funded as an asset, not a burden

Ferens Art Gallery in Hull has reopened after a £5.2 million refurbishment largely funded by Hull City Council. But while the local authority should be commended for its commitment to culture, Sheila McGregor argues that the blame for council cuts in towns and cities across the UK needs to be forcefully directed at Westminster politicians rather than hapless local representatives.

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Paloma Proudfoot and Aniela Piasecka, performance of Made To Be Broken as part of the Platform exhibition at Edinburgh Art Festival 2016.
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2016 in view: “Out of the messiness came solidarity and collaboration”

a-n’s Executive Director Jeanie Scott reflects on an incredibly busy year for the organisation that has seen the publication of the Paying Artists Exhibition Payment Guidance, wide-ranging support for artists through a-n bursaries, and membership reach a record high. And, despite an increasingly messy global situation, says there’s much to look forward to in 2017.

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Uptin House, Ouseburn, Newcastle
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Resisting gentrification: why we should fight hard to protect affordable creative spaces

Newcastle-based artist Kathryn Hodgkinson believes that the city council’s planning decisions are having a detrimental effect on the area’s creative community. In the wake of the recent decision to demolish the creative space Uptin House to make way for ‘yet another block of student flats’, she argues that local authorities need to embrace the true value of artists.

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