Arts and Labor Meeting Notes 11-1-11

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Arts and Labor Meeting Notes 11/1/11

– Quick recap of the group origins
– Approx 18-20 people present for mtg.

We open by picking up from last week. Can we talk about what kinds of discussions/talks/teach-in’s we would like to organize/host?

Organized Talks/Teach-ins/Discussions
WAGE is already holding talks. Discussions of future talks to be held at artists space on the subject of stadards, best practices, legal rights, economic policy.
– potential opp for collaboration.
– who would be talking?
– HOW would they be talking?
– discussion of process and assembly forms in the event of future public talks.
– to be continued….

Yates asks for an update on Occupy Museums in relationship to Sotheby’s

Occupy Museums
– recap regarding Sotheby’s cooperation.
– big action November 9th. Open for all to participate/organize. Note: can we follow up on this via email?

Scabs Discussion
– Is there a list of scab arthandlers(crozier) that can be produced?
– not as a blacklist but as a way to reach out to those working and companies acting against their fellow workers.
– problem targeting individuals
– let it be known which company is working with Sotheby’s. artists don’t know who handles their art when they work with galleries/museums.
note: can we follow up with this via email?

Discussion of labor organization in the arts
A call to map relations in the Arts, where do various forms of labor overlap?
– Statistics vs. Testimonials
– Very hard to track the money in the art world. Where it goes and where it comes from. No real comprehensive studies exist on this front.
– art world is unregulated

Union Model
– Union vs guild structure
– Union= rights oriented, protectionist
– Guild=those that own their work-copyright issues, intellectual property.
– Lets not discredit the union model. What can we learn from it?
-Unions/guilds can become calcified.  How can we avoid this?
– What is the deal with Freelancers Union? Nobody likes them. Lets figure out why this does not work. Let’s bring them into the conversation.

Real Budgets
– What if we all only do projects with budgets that reflect fair labor practices?
– Can we start with ourselves as a model?

Discussion of General Strike!
– the long difficult work of building solidarity.
– outreach
– messaging
– idea of not striking too soon. what are the steps that can build up to a strike and act as community building tools.
-can we pick a date for the strike, and schedule programming leading up to it?
– identify where the power is. a strike need not be everyone to be effective
– strike just in the arts, or strike in the larger movement?
– there are so many artists that are not at OWS. outreach needs to come first.
– strike should be combined with ACTION!
– stop ALL production. We talked about the difficulty around that.
– strike is not supposed to be easy
– reminder. the artist need to constantly produce is part of the dynamic of capitalism
– AA Bronson pulls his work from Smithsonian. Artists can also show solidarity in that way
– The idea of also staying quiet. No more facebook, twitter posts, etc.
– What happened to rock ‘n roll?! Lets have a huge festival during the strike. no solitude.
– Intern walk-out. Everyone who is unpaid strikes
– Cautionary tale about student organizing and strikes.
– How to not alienate those who do not recognize the call for strikes. Recognize that not everyone will be able to strike. Give space for them to feel welcome and to participate as well.
-Creating ways for people to be involved and support a strike if they cannot participate in it.

Meeting size grows. We open stack.

– Importance of thinking about what kind of art we are defending. Lets remember that part of this movement is about what we don’t know. Leave open the definitions. Send a message thatw e are working together.
– lets be ambitious about how we define labor.  think about labor in relation to art, linking art economy to immigrant communities.
– Chris Kaspar’s text. Can we edit this down and distribute as a start? Can we add other voices?
– Difficulties around messaging- how to address rampant self-interest, opportunism, competition in the arts community.
-Messaging needs performativity.

Objectives of Group
– Raise Discourse
– Propose alternate models
– Build Coalitions

More Models
– Look to undocumented workers and precarious labor outside of art for models of organization. idea of contagion. worker centers.
– open up new spaces for community. Redistribution of wealth. Work towards meeting basic needs of artist-food, space, materials. Can this group address that?

More Notes:
K8- Look at artist’s studio labor process

AL-  Stencil campaign
Street vending permits
bottom-up transformation
rethinking a market(the fruit peddlers)
Caroline- March on Museum Mile. A possibility for action.
Danny- lets pick something and do it
Woody- lets not forget about Art Ed in our discussion. Lots to already tap into there.
Erin- Researching alternate economies. Lets not forget about loopholes such as privately owned public space. There are other loopholes. Lets be resourceful.

Stories of the 99%. Tumbler blog
Cooper Union walk out. Tuition is free.
Anna -We have all been the 1% at one time. 1% mentality, 99% paycheck.
Multi-disciplinary outreach- how can this group create links and build bridges.

– Lots of interest in idea of a General Strike
– Homework: read and suggest edits to Chris Kaspar’s text
– Possible host a discussion on messaging?
– Auction to raise money. all works that are not sold are burned?

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