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Organized in collaboration with Sara Greenberger Rafferty

June 27 - July 27, 2013

Opening Reception : June 27, 2013 6-8 pm

Work is a show constructed to engage issues of labor, value and authorship in the commercial art market.

Here’s the process:

Over two work days immediately prior to the show’s opening, the 16 artists will collaboratively make a single composition, each determining a single mark or intervention on a standard 16 x 20 inch canvas.

Day one will consist of the design and development of this painting, involving a collaborative effort to determine the best “product” for the art workers to manufacture.

Day two will be production day, in which the chosen composition will be “mass-produced” in an assembly-line fashion, with each artist working at a station of their own design.

Sticking to an 8-hour work day (with breaks), the labor involved in studio production will become an integrally balancing factor in the commodification of the final artwork. The notion of the individual’s studio production will be toyed with, amplified, and diluted as there will inevitably be too many cooks in the kitchen.

The resulting paintings, manufactured like an artist-run factory, will be hung together in the gallery for the duration of the show.

June 27, 2103

This project was initially executed as a studio assignment with students at Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan for a class offered by Michelle Grabner and Sara Greenberger Rafferty in the summer of 2012. Much of the conceptual framework for Work came from brainstorming with the Ox-Bow students almost exactly a year ago during that class. The students were Conor Eckstrom, Hani Eid, Jeffrey Evergreen, Ron Ewert, Danica Favorito, Robin J. Kang, Cole Don Kelley, Daria McMeans, Kate Scato, and Will Sieruta, along with Teaching Assistant Sam Davis. This project would not have been possible without them.

The project was recast on June 25-26th as a project for 14 disparate artists who agreed to come together for this artificial and strange project. The process of reproduction was fun, frustrating, at times boring, and even a little stressful. The negotiations, disagreements, absurdities, and moments of in/efficiency were part of the project. 

For Work, 50 finished paintings were produced after a prototype was chosen from five test paintings. Each artists will receove one painting from the series as initial compensation for their labor. The balance of the works are for sale at $250 apiece. Each artist will receive a $10 royalty per painting sold.

Work is partiality supported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation Endowment at Hampshire College. We wish also to thank Jean Sepanski, John Knight, and Hannah Antalek for their invaluable assistance during the process.