Arts and Labor Meeting Minutes 1/3/11

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Art and Labor
590 Madison Avenue, Jan 3, 7pm
Next meeting time and date: 590 Madison Avenue, Jan 10, 7pm
Facilitators: Matt and Chris
Stack: Tal
Minutes: Erin 

Action Items:
Erin will start a google document to brainstorm protocols; how one brings a project forward, accountability, conduct online and also a google calendar for internal coordination.

Lara suggests we go through protocol ideas and add these to the google document.

Matt suggests that the minutes taker puts dates from minutes onto google calendar.

All-find follow through strategy/feedback for past actions.

Erin will bring back Alt Economies Workshops as a proposal.

All–give feedback on NYFA letter on googlegroup.



Lara—Friday, anti-gentrification project will meet at 7pm at Lara’s house.

Leina—Performance, 8th thru 11th, at Invisible Do

Chris—Global Revolution Studios (livestream) shut down; Jan 15 candlelight vigil and march on 15th or 16th; May 1st General Strike in NY


Matt—Justice for Jazz artists, fair pay for artists that play in top jazz clubs


Josh—Unionization group met over holidays.  We met with Hans Abbing on Sunday. Sunday, January 8th, Time and Date TBA.  January will be research on different union models; finding web based model for sharing information about fees and salaries, how to network with WAGE.  Begin implementation in March. Possible actions: going to portfolio days at art schools and educating students about what they will face when they get out of art school. We haven’t put union group on thread, trying to keep it small.  If you want to come to those meetings, see me.

Steiner—Monday, Jan 9, Presentation by WAGE at Artists Space from 7-9ish.  Soup. Hans Abbing will present about Arts Economy.

Arlen—This Saturday, 3-6, Labor Organizing Teach-In. Union and Non-Union organizing reps talking about precarious labor—internships and employment, wage, back pay, overtime law; Q+A and workshop ideas. At HENS, 93 3rd Ave., 3rd and Bergen, Brooklyn.

Rachel—Emergency Direct Action to defend GA from dispersal; GA’s are being broken up by police

Claire: Dan, Nicole, and I drafted a letter to NYFA for Arts and Labor.  Can we get feedback on that draft?


Googlegroups protocol

A+L actions and events/Autonomous



New Ideas

Finishing/Maximizing Actions

Newcomers Feedback

Changing Meeting Times

Body of the Meeting:

GoogleGroups protocol:

Leina—feels uncomfortable with people and ideas being shut down on googlegroup.

Jason—does not think that googlegroup needs to be policed; arguments happen, but also there are also really interesting conversations that come out of arguments. We spend too much time talking about the way we talk.

Erin—Should be soapbox rather than place for decision making.

Blithe—Coming up with some unity about how we move forward with decisions and want to articulate that this is a problem other groups are having.  Direct Action put together the community agreement.  I would like to have something like that.

Lara—Argument can be productive, was one of better conversations I had.  Talk to person directly if you take issue with an idea.  Worried about people putting things forward and are shut down.

Jen—Fear is that nothing happens.  Do a project and let the critique happen.

Chris—in agreement about a consensus process to get bigger projects started, but a couple people can agree about small decisions.  Good to have arguments on google group, but we should have respect for each other.  We need a protocol for sending messages to the larger group.

Matt—Address personal problems in face-to-face meetings. Autonomy vs. consensus, what happens when you can’t get consensus?

Josh—Don’t let googlegroup organize ideas.  Organize outside and then bring it to the group. Autonomous action outside.

Lise—These things have been coming from Andrea; this needs to be addressed with her directly.  I am concerned about people being scared or deterred from coming to meetings because of tone and personal attacks.

Erin—Lynn had suggested some kind of document to discuss bringing actions forward and protocol.  I put together a cliff notes version from some of the Lisa fithian and starhawk trainings starhawk’s book.  What gets arts and labor stamp versus autonomous action?

Leina—Unfortunate that ideas get shut down.

Arlen—Perhaps there could be protocol for a particular situation–I felt the need to get consensus on googlegroup because of timing.  The unpaid internship teach-in is still happening through A+L and the Saturday event is happening.

Jordan: How do we enforce accountability?

Lara—Go through protocol ideas and add these to the google document.

Erin—Working google calendar so we can discuss dates.

Matt—Minutes taker puts dates from meeting on the minutes.


A+L actions and events/Autonomous

Jason—If it comes to arts and labor and gets consensed upon then it is A+L; otherwise it is autonomous

Tal—Because of timeframe, it is not always possible to bring things to meetings; I’d like it to be easier

Erin—Calendar will help with that; groups come to consensus to build buy in for projects.

Lara—People are given consensus at the group and then people who bring the project are given the go-ahead to realize the project

Blithe—Process can squelch projects.  I think it is important for us to be able to move swiftly.  I’d like to acknowledge the idea about ethics or guidelines, so we don’t have to get total consensus for every action.  I’d like to have a base that we can work from and then individual pods.

Josh—Doesn’t like process. I like to be talking about issues of substance.

Jason—Half of what we have done as a group, I would have blocked.  If we bring something forward, then we have to preserve the opportunity to disagree. If the Baldessari had come up, I would have blocked it, because I thought it was stupid. If we only agree that it is a good idea to do stuff, then we are a club not a political movement.

Leina—I am offended by you saying that the Baldessari thing is stupid.  Let’s have a sophisticated critique.

Jen—I would agree.  It is important for people to try actions.  If we fail and that idea doesn’t work, we learn from it.  I would put forward encouragement and let people try things and then critique them.


Structures for Accountability—tabled.

Additional Agenda Items:


Alt Econ Workshops

Erin—Alt Econ Workshop, 3 parts, A+L Event. 1st one on February 5th or 12th.  Visions and goals building. Visit to 4th ST. arts block; presentation by Caroline and Solidarity NYC.

Jen—That should be a proposal.

Lise—That should not be proposal; this is how things get shut down.

Danny—Bring back proposal for first 2 events and then the 3rd when you get it worked out.


Tom—If it is an A+L event, then A+L should promote it.


New Ideas

Leina—I want to hear about new ideas.

Arlen—Saturday event on unpaid interns is structured with a legal background talking about law, one academic, and activists.  We’d love feedback from group. Other event in January.

Chris—Mobilize for May 5th Action.

Blithe—organize around Frieze and Armory Fair; Chris: Greg brought up something about NADA art fair; getting a booth there. Coup d’NADA.  Teach-in; Danny: Question: do we need to make a proposal? Do we need to get a booth?; Josh—I am a NADA member, talk to me.

Tal—I’d like to do strange arts, art and labor things we can do, more visual art and performance-based perspective.  Why I think this group is valuable is because there are people here that are academically minded and know a lot of things that could  make those projects m ore powerful.


Finishing/Maximizing of Actions


Tal—What is the follow up and post production for an action?

Leina—Yates or Martha or Chris want to write letters.   We should be flexible about time because people are volunteering their time.

Josh—I am into an analysis of events after meetings to learn from actions to guide actions for the future.  Instructive critique.

Blithe—Ethical guideline platform can open up a space for a post action discussion.  As far as Baldessari, there are flickr images up now with one of everyone who participated in the project.  The remaining things are a letter or press release and how we want to frame it. I feel challenged by the protocol, about how to finish something or start anything new.

Arlen—Don’t want to shut people down or have them be afraid.  I like the idea of a space for critique.  I wouldn’t get too concerned and self-interrogating about taking back any past actions.

Danny—Maybe people spearheading have a conclusion to the project.  If someone has a different idea for how the project should come to fruition, they should propose something.

Jen—Articulate follow -up in the initial proposal.  How are you going to solicit feedback?

Leina—Baldessari, we started it and then we went forward.  We told people about it and then started a secure thread off the group.  That is how it happened.



Josh—Would like to ask the new people for feedback.  Can you speak?  Will you come back? Would you encourage other people to come?  Why or why not? How did you hear about this?  Will you be coming back? If not, why not? Have you been to our events?

Leina—Also, who are you?

Chris—Safe space.

Can we have anonymity?


Tom—Painter and art handler.  I know Chris from Crozier and have been politically minded.


Tierney—Artist and Curator and worked for lots of institutions.  I’ve been involved with OWS affinity groups because I felt there was less time dedicated to figuring out projects.  Been following googlegroups, but haven’t had time to commit to meetings. That’s why others I know are not coming.  I’ll be back.


Lauren—I was out of the country and missed all of OWS. Worked in galleries.  Studied alternative art economies and was in Holland looking at their art economy and institutions.


Ariana—Poet and playwright. I don’t know if this is the right group for me.  I want to know how this process works.  I am interested in Direct Action.  I used to work in art world and as theater maker, I am some kind of artist.  I am just trying to go and  listen to different groups.  Maybe I need a reading group.  I want to be challenged spiritually and inwardly but also in action.  Looking for like-minded people to make critical actions together.  I don’t know how to do that.  I am a seeker. Depends if I am having fun or not.


Laurel-Curator; following google group and left country from September through recently, watching things unfold from a distance. In solidarity with what you are doing.  In NY briefly.  Difference between google group and meetings—discourse on the google group; process at meetings.  How can I be useful to a group like this?  Googlegroup refers back to things that happen in person.  How to open that up to people from afar? My curatorial practice is in line with what you are talking about—how could I open up space and money to a group like this? Currently based in Stockholm at ? Kunsthalle, we are dealing with issues with arts and labor. Went to Europe to find different models, would like to find ways to talk about models and share.


Jordan—Grad student in Art History at Harvard; used to work at Whitney museum; and democratic socialist.  I would recommend people to come back to work on artist union, WAGE, and May 1st action.  What is exciting for me about the occupy movement was that it was serious and keeping the park?  Now there needs to be a new source of solidarity.  Pick things that are the most meaningful to us and committing to that will bring more people to group.


Steiner: I work with Lise on WAGE.  I live in LA.  There is a group started around artists unions there.  Organizing on a smaller scale there.  I hope to be in touch and build solidarity.  I encourage people to come to the WAGE events, especially on Monday.  How can we move forward together?  This is how WAGE started; we had open meetings.  It is difficult.  Our agenda is focused but we can rally more people to gain visibility.  Hoping things move forward.  Sounds awesome.


Changing Meeting Times

Lara: Changing dates for last meeting of the month.  Will put on googlegroup.  Doodle poll for people who can’t make Tuesday meeting.

Erin: I don’t think we should go through this again.


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