Posts Tagged ‘Artists Equity’

Help Desk

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

Today’s guest blogger is Eric Sutphin, Residency Coordinator of SVA’s Summer Residency Programs:

It is a fact that pursuing a career in the arts comes with a wealth of anxieties. Art schools may offer students top-of-the-line facilities, renowned faculty, a marketable pedigree and an invaluable network, but a complaint that I have often heard (and have launched myself) is the deficit in practical training for art students at the beginnings of their careers.  The attendant ambiguity that comes with a life in art can seem daunting and alienating; how often have we been to an opening and looked around at the dealers, curators and artists, and thought, “Wow, these people really have it figured out, they’ve all made it.”

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SVA’s Keren Moscovitch (r) in “Help Desk: Equity Exchange Marathon” at Equity Gallery

Help Desk: Equity Exchange Marathon was a performance event conceived and launched by multidisciplinary artist Ofri Cnaani, a current faculty member of SVA’s Continuing Education and Summer Residency Programs. The performance took place at the Artists Equity brick-and-mortar space, Equity Gallery, located in New York’s Lower East Side. Cnaani invited eight guests (most were arts professionals) to respond to questions submitted via Artists Equity’s online platform. Over the course of the performance, which was structured like a professional practices “clinic” and free and open to the public, the spirit of  generosity and an enactment of a kind of utopian sharing economy unfolded. A few of my personal highlights from the event are below:

Q: How do I navigate being an artist, critic curator?
A: Gean Moreno, Artistic Director of Cannonball Miami: “Why is this still a problem within art? It’s seems like a kind of masochistic line that we have gotten comfortable with as artists. In other disciplines, people often move freely between roles. Don’t  worry about it, just do it.”

Q: “Are studio visits worth it?”
A: Joey Lico, curator and Director of Programming at The Cultivist: “Yes!” People who visit your studio generally want others to succeed, so invite people who are interested in your work to visit. But be prepared, and show everything you have, even the things you have hidden away, turned against the wall. We want to see everything. Be careful of those people who want to just sit around and hang out with artists; they’re out there.”

Ofri Cnaani (center) listens at "Help Desk: Equity Exchange Marathon" at Equity Gallery

Ofri Cnaani (center) listens at “Help Desk: Equity Exchange Marathon” at Equity Gallery

The question of the livability of cities came up frequently. Leila Bozorg, Chief of Staff for the NYC Dept. of Housing and Preservation and Development noted that “It is a city’s responsibility to make accommodations for cultural producers. It’s what keeps neighborhoods and cities, in general, attractive places to live.”

As each respondent answered the questions (which were written on index cards), he or she put the card on a clear table under which a projector beamed the image of the amassed question cards onto a nearby wall. The ephemera from the performance is included in Cnaani’s solo exhibition File Under:?, on view at Equity Gallery through January 30, 2016. Additionally, the answers to the artists’ questions will be “transcribed, processed and made available through Artists Equity’s website as a service for the art community.”

Help Desk: Equity Exchange Marathon at Equity Gallery

Help Desk: Equity Exchange Marathon at Equity Gallery