The notion of the artist has undergone many transformations. Over the course of the 20th Century, the paradigm of the artist as solitary genius was displaced by the paradigm of the artist as professional. The latest development in this evolution is the artist as entrepreneur.
Within the reputational economy that this paradigm institutes, critical and ‘avant-garde’ practices become increasingly related to the mechanics of the art market and the logic of fashion. Within this economy, the tensions between critique and publicity, appropriation and exploitation, and disinterestedness and self-interest have heightened to the point of parody, tempting many to regrettably accept the neoliberal adage: “there is no alternative”.
Taking the form of a public-space intervention, the work addresses its contradictory discourses to the general public, in the style of an illegal street vendor selling their wares. It presents them with the problematics of marketing critical art, asking them to consider the substantial issues which artists face, and how they, as potential consumers, are implicated in them. It asks: How can critical art be autonomous when it relies on the mechanics of the market and the media? How can artists’ critical discourse maintain integrity when that discourse become a form of currency? How can the audience support critical art without reproducing its reliance on the market? Artrepreneur challenges the public to reconcile the unreconcilable.
On a personal level, the work is also a cathartic expression, a performative gesture that explores my positionality in relation to these tensions, allowing me to render the precarity of, and explore the contradictions in, my own practice.
Artrepreneur was performed in 2017 in Kassel, Germany, outside Documenta (Karlsraue Park) and in Barcelona, Spain, outside MACBA and at the Arc de Triomf. As part of the CF project, it was exhibited at the Research Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2017.
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Arc de Triomf, Barcelona