Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Regulating the Art Business and Other Unpleasantries: Open Thread

In response to Paddy Johnson's ArtFagCity post on Tyler Green's CVF interviews, artist and writer Pedro Velez suggests, "It’s time to regulate the arts, really."

It's hard to argue against that, really. It was probably time to regulate the art world ages ago. I, for one, am happy that hasn't happened, though, because I know regulation won't be any fun for me. But in response to Pedro's comment I wrote, thinking regulation can take many forms and affect many parts of any business:

It may be time for [regulation], but let’s be up front about what that means. First of all, each artist wanting to exhibit their work may need to hire a lawyer or manager to work out their contracts with galleries and museums. If you go the lawyer route, you can expect, in NYC to pay at least $350/hour. Unless you go with free services, but you may need to get in a long line then. If you go the manager route, it may cost you an extra 10-15% of what you sell. There may be other models, but none are free or hassle free.

How will this impact the struggling artists wanting to build up enough sales to quit their day jobs? Hard to say at this point (clearly it doesn’t stop ambitious young actors or musicians), but it will almost certainly ensure that galleries, who will have to hire their own lawyers, take fewer chances on artists for whom sales are not a sure thing.
I'd like to elaborate on that a bit here. First of all, I realized after posting that comment that I jumped the gun in assuming I understood what type of regulation Pedro was talking about. He later suggested again that regulation was needed on the thread here about the Voice's decision:
The arts need to be regulated, its about time...

My response to this instance was less presumptuous:

I'm curious what form of regulation you're recommending, how it would address this particular issue, and what you see as the potential impact of such regulation in how artists work with galleries and/or museums?

I ask because my sense is that a little regulation always leads to a lot more regulation (it breeds bureaucracy). This may be appropriate (if frustrating) in many businesses, especially those where the public's health or well-being is at risk (Bambino walked past the Trump building where a worker was killed last weeks mere minutes before it happened, making me currently very much in favor of certain types of regulation), but it can come with a creativity-stifling price. That doesn't strike me as possibly even remotely good for visual art. As I noted above, I suspect, at the very least, that more regulation will necessitate less risk taking in galleries. (What risk taking? you ask...well, multiply that sentiment if you regulate things too much.)

Pedro hasn't responded yet, but I'm still curious and want to open up this thread to discuss what kinds of regulations might be appropriate for the visual art industry, with specifics about what abuse or potential abuse they would be designed to curtail and what impacts that might have on either what gets exhibited where or the creative process in general.

Again, I'm fine with the way things are, so don't ask me.

Labels:

86 Comments:

Blogger George said...

I am curious. Why would someone want regulation of the art market? What effect would it have?

As I see it, the art business is just another luxury retail business. Does this mean the yacht business should be regulated?

Aside from what someone thinks should be regulated, who oversees this? More bureaucracy.

No thanks.

1/22/2008 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger joy said...

Those who put "regulation" forward as though it would solve these problems should look around and think again. If you still think it's a good idea to regulate the art world, then which regulated industry model are you looking at? Sorry, I am just not interested in further boosting the business of contract lawyers and creating "additional paperwork"; nor am I interested in making the art world a "safer" place. If you want to feel safe than go get a middle-management job somewhere -- there will be lots of contracts for you to sign, and you'll feel nicely hemmed-in.

Everything else in our society is regulated. We here occupy the last bastion of handshake culture, which privileges the thing that actually forms the basis of all business: personal relationships. Those who cry regulation reveal their discontent -- or perhaps some personal bitterness? -- but such a "fix" would probably asphyxiate us all.

1/22/2008 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Yes. People often complain about the lack of "transparency" in the art world. Why? In the case of the auction markets, sales records are kept. Why? because it makes for a better market. This is true of most things sold at auction.

However, there are generally no records kept of the private sales of all other tangible items which do not require a licence to own or operate. I am sure that the IRS would like to change this.

On the other hand, maybe I am wrong, maybe art is just another tradeable commodity and should be regulated by the SEC. After all isn't this why people go to art school? So they gan make expensive baubles to be traded?

BTW, the world financial markets are crashing, sorry but the art market is next and all of this will be a moot discussion.

1/22/2008 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

Musicians and actors have unions to negotiate contracts and such. Not that that would be feasible for artists, but what a thought! Perhaps those artforms that are more individualistic are impossible to unionize. Singer-songwriters do not necessarily belong to unions, whereas a symphony musician must be to get work. Same dif for an actor in movies and television and a performance artist.

1/22/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about a law that gives the artist 10% of the sale price any time their work is resold?

or a law stating that galleries must tell the artist who has purchased their work?

or a manditory end-of-year inventory for galleries with statements sent to the artist, so that works don't get "lost", and artists are paid?

or restitution for artists whose works are damaged by galleries?

L.

1/22/2008 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

BTW, the world financial markets are crashing, sorry but the art market is next and all of this will be a moot discussion.

didn't you just explain a few months ago why that wasn't going to happen? :-)

1/22/2008 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

L.

You can all those things if you work with the right gallery.

1/22/2008 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This conversation would be more focused and perhaps practical if we discussed specific regulations. Using the general concept 'regulations' isn't useful because everybody associates it with lawyers and mindless bureaucracy. I am all for any changes in the culture that empower artists without burdening them more than they are, and changes that bring more artists into the public light, or make it easier for galleries to open and succeed. Yes art is an industry, but the specific products produced by this industry occasionally inspire people to feel and think, so let's not mix up art with pork stocks.

1/22/2008 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

What about a law that gives the artist 10% of the sale price any time their work is resold?
What about it? This benefits artists like Jeff Koons not me.

or a law stating that galleries must tell the artist who has purchased their work?
This means if a gallery didn’t tell you who bought the work they would be breaking the law?

or a mandatory end-of-year inventory for galleries with statements sent to the artist, so that works don't get "lost", and artists are paid?
This would probably be a good business practice for the gallery. The artist could then reconcile their own records with those of the gallery.
On the other hand, there are laws against fraud which should cover issues of nonpayment.

or restitution for artists whose works are damaged by galleries?
Again this is a business practice which different galleries will have different policies on. The artist should find out in advance what these policies are. If a work is damaged the artist should take legal recourse. Sue, it’s the American way.

I think if one feels strongly about these issues the artist should discuss them with the gallery, if their answers are not what you want to hear, select a different gallery.

1/22/2008 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

didn't you just explain a few months ago why that wasn't going to happen? :-)

Yeh I wasn't worried for the short term, but things do change and the Feb botched the job. Given the current state of panic in the world financial markets I would expect that the buyers will have the upper hand in the upcoming auctions. The auction houses will not be so quick to offer price guarantees and that the prices realized will contract.

A lot still depends on the US economy which is weak in certain areas but not others. We'll see, but at the moment I'm not so optomistic.

hafomeat

1/22/2008 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous t.whid said...

This discussion doesn't need to be black and white: gov't regulation or no. There is another choice: private boards of ethics. Every other profession has one.

I'm not saying I'm pro that. But it's another option short of gov't regulation.

1/22/2008 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

t.whid - BOE, What does this get us?

1/22/2008 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous t.whid said...

Again, I'm not saying this should happen...

But an ethics board could set guidelines about conflicts of interest and etc that if followed by most in the profession could have stopped this whole Viveros-Fauné flap before it started.

It seems like there's lots of debate in the art world about what ethical behavior even is. An ethics body would clarify that.

1/22/2008 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An 'ethics body' (is that the same as a hot body?) will never happen because there will never be a general consensus in the art world regarding ethics. And also, who will serve on the board, who will decide who is on the board? It becomes impossibly complicated very quickly.

1/22/2008 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

An ethics body is entirely possible and will become quickly probable if legislatures suggest they'll be working on regulation unless they see some sort of movement toward one by the industry. We're not there yet, though, so...

1/22/2008 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger joy said...

Hold on: it's standard for museums and larger institutions to have ethics bodies (and regulations, and in-house lawyers, etc. etc.). So it's really a question of standardization and whether there should be an umbrella code that would give all organizations and individuals a set of guidelines to follow (or ignore). Floating guidelines, as opposed beefing up defenses with contracts, is not a bad thing.

1/22/2008 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

The art world used to be small and self regulating - if it wasn't fair, at least everyone knew who the ax man was. This kind of salon style feudalism has been replaced by a free for all festivalism where no one except the deluded think they are the center (unless money is the center, and that would require re-writing the history of art all the way back to Lascaux, skipping the Medicis and the industrial revolution and so on and so forth - what a tangled timeline we weave!)

I hear people saying if you are a popular or desirable artist then you will get fed well at the trough, because the brand can be leveraged confidently to insure a good gallery and favorable terms.

An artist who sells little work or for scratch, who perhaps is vulnerable due to mental handicap would require both marketing and protection. Does the state owe these persons a helping hand or should they be culled from the herd? Faith based programs?

It is naive to think the art world in it's current form can self police the periphery, but I think seeding the churches and synagogues with money for art would go a long way towards creating an art world based on more than deluded hedonism or shallow nihilism.

Maybe a dance marathon with prizes or something. Give away a truck. Potluck Caserole. I know I could use some breakfast. Regulate me some eggs.

1/22/2008 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

How did we get from a critic-slash-fair organizer to the idea of regulating our art lives and careers? That's a HUGE leap.

The fact is that journalism does have standards, and CVF transgressed them, which is why he's no longer writing for the VV. (Freelancers don't get fired; they just stop getting hired.) It's one thing for critics to write a catalog essay now and then, or to curate a show, or to speak at an institution--these are all entities connected with same-color threads--but it's something else entirely for them to be involved in the commercial venture of an art fair. So ad hoc regulators brought this issue to the fore via the blogosphere, folks commented, and the issue was resolved. It will be a long time before a situation like this happens again, I'll wager.

There are already gidelines in place: art dealers have them via the ADAA, art educators via CAA, curators via their particular museums, and freelance critics via their editors who are working under guidelines set down by their publication. Beyond that I don't see the need for regulation, particularly now, when the blogosphere and internet make communication--and transparency--quick and widespread.

1/22/2008 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

It's one thing for critics to write a catalog essay now and then, or to curate a show, or to speak at an institution--these are all entities connected with same-color threads--but it's something else entirely for them to be involved in the commercial venture of an art fair.

Why? Everything is a commercial venture.

1/22/2008 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

A cynic knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.

That was a loss leader.

1/22/2008 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

Right on, Joanne--you've just illustrated how freedom of open communication trumps government regulation as an ethical policing agent.

I still don't understand why I don't have any takers on my class-action suit against Gagosian, Koons, and Sotheby's. Are that many people still seriously hoping that Larry is going to make their careers for them, that they won't stand up and say, "You're a market-manipulating prick with no taste, you're sucking away our air, and we're not going to take it any more?"

1/22/2008 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that this particular ethical lapse, discovered and publicized by Tyler Green, got such attention and swift action, when other important ethical breaches that he has called attention to have just been ignored. I'm thinking specifically of his post in which he pointed out that Andrew Fabrikant, who is always being quoted by Carol Vogel in the NYTimes as a dealer who is some kind of expert on the auction market, is married to Laura Paulson, a VP in contemporary art at Christie's. She's always quoting his interpretation of that week's auction results as if he's some impartial industry observer, when clearly, in retrospect, he has a big financial interest in in his wife's income. That, to me, is a more important and serious breach than CVF's. Important because more money is involved and because these are all big-ticket entities: Christie's and NYT have their ethics rules spelled out clearly somewhere. CVF was candid and honest about his involvements when Tyler asked him. But I haven't heard anything from Carol Vogel, Christie's or the Times.

anono

1/22/2008 01:02:00 PM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

Hi Ed,

Sorry for the delay. I didn't expect this to become a headline of sorts. I'm sorry to say I don't really have an idea about how to regulate and to what extent, my comments were meant as question, as the begining of a serious dialogue that should be explored in public forums and lectures.

I don't mean regulate everything like big brother, but more in the line of what Joy said. The same way the government regulates corporations, (or tries to). The way baseball now is regulating its policy on drugs or even salary arbitration. I think salary arbitration is the way to go with auctions and the not ethical practice of buying your own art by a third party- that's deceiving. The same way "collectors" who are really art dealers control the value of X artist in the market or collectors on Museum boards take advantage of their position.

Kenneth Lay went to jail for making misleading statements...shouldn't that apply to art speculators with power in the artworld? Or Biennial curators who use the same five artist every year? What do they get out that?

There has to be some consensus of what is ethical and what isn't. Funny thing is we know what is and isn't by heart but when put in practice it becomes difficult to stay the course, we tend to bend the rules too much.

It seems we all agree that what Faune did was sketchy but at the same time we applaud his honesty and even go on to admit that conflicts are natural to the arts due to its size.

That's a netiher here or there position, is just too accommodating, it makes us feel comfortable. But Why? The Village Voice took a stand, why can't the artworld do so also? Beacuse there are no consequences for any wrong doings in art. Unless it's a HUGE scandal.

So it's pretty clear to me that artist do feel uncomfortable with the business in general. Some or most feel left out just because they can't, or are not willing to sleep with X to be in a show, or give out art in exchange for a review ,or be a social bee at Basel.

I'm not trying to be a puritan here...And I don't know if this clarifies any of your questions.

by the way, about the Crying Lost Art web site I want to let you know that the gallerist we accused didn't make it to Basel and closed the gallery. We didn't get out money or art back, and doubt we ever will but at least he's not hurting anybody anymore. When artist get together they can accomplish some degree of justice.

1/22/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

…or a law stating that galleries must tell the artist who has purchased their work?

Some states do have specific rules covering artist’s and their rights…granted you would have to go to court to enforce them.

In Oregon:
The artist can know who bought the work. The artist is entitled to know the name and address of the purchaser. Upon written demand from the artist, the gallery shall furnish the artist with the name and address of the purchaser of the artist's work, and the date of purchase and the price paid for the work, for any sale totaling $100 or more. If the gallery refuses to furnish that information specified above, the artist shall be entitled to obtain an injunction prohibiting such conduct and in addition, receive money damages in an amount equal to three times the artist's portion of the retail value of the work.

Does anyone know if NY has a similar consignment statute?
My gallery refuses to share the names of the collectors who have bought my work. Says they are his collectors. Never had this situation before and don’t know what to do (besides leave them of course). In initial meeting I was orally told that collectors names would be released but it was not put in writing.
I know that I have copyright of all images with or without contract with gallery but in NY State do I have any other protections concerning my knowing where my sold art is?

1/22/2008 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a waste of time!

Basic ethics should be followed and applied in every case. Not regulations.

In the case of CVF the VV acted correctly.

1/22/2008 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

What a waste of time!

Basic ethics should be followed and applied in every case.


I wish you had rung in yesterday. What are those "ethics" you consider so "basic," though? You're clear on the VV case, but in other cases...like "critics lecturing for money at universities whose artists or exhibitions they later write about, accepting paid travel and hotel expenses in return for press (and the rules for acknowledging that), confluences of power like that represented by the Frieze art fair, writing catalog essays for pay...."

Are the ethics in each case that clear cut? If so, what are they? And, if so, it would seem there's a good deal of conflict of interest happening constantly.

And if that's the case, then why are not regulations called for?

I'm not so sure it's a waste of time, is what I'm getting at.

I don't think regulations are the solution (again, I think more insistence on constant and consistent disclosure is), but I know it's not enough for me to hear that the VV did the right thing and move on, as if that closes the matter.

1/22/2008 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is good to talk about ethics in the art world. I don't think anyone feels that comfortable with the notion that art making is exactly the same as manufacturing widgets for consummation by the masses. Contemporary art has a small audience. I personally do not think that anything is going to change right now. The status quo will win out for now. Although it might have been slightly shocking or controversial the way Tyler brought CVF's situation into the light and the way the interview was quickly followed up with his firing, but everything that occurred is really par for the course. CVF did not plagiarize like Blair and Glass did, so instead of hurting the image of the media, the CVF episode possibly makes the field of journalism still seem relevant and objective. Depending on your politics, you either feel like the media has fallen from grace years ago, or that they still can play the role of muckraker. The bloggers here who applaud the firing of CVF probably would not turn down some opportunity to exhibit their work in a reputable locale if their friend offered it to theme. Obviously there are degrees of unethical behavior, and in today's art world perhaps things are a bit more complicated than they were in the days of Lester Bangs. We here won't change the rules in any substantial way in the near future, but we can chip away at these issues and perhaps change things down the road. Tyler getting CVF fired does not change anything in the present, except CVF's resume.

1/22/2008 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

The Village made a strong public statement, it doesn't change things, of course not, but it does incites dialogue and questions. That's important. (Did he get fired? Not sure about that, he's just not welcome to write again).

It isn't a waste of time to discuss this issue...unless we are all interested in moving foward with the Hollywoodization of art in general and with Perez Hilton the most respected art critic.

Now...just make sure to not confuse writing an informative article vs a review.

1/22/2008 04:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tyler Green has written about (the appearance of) conflict of interest before, in relation to someone who writes for an art magazine, who codirects a gallery, and who shows his own art. And recently, a California art dealer has begun writing for the online arm of another art magazine.

1/22/2008 04:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what I am saying, I guess, is that glossy art magazines are not held to the same journalistic standards as weekly papers that don't focus exclusively on art. It's easier to shake the foundations of the Village Voice--in spite of its age and reputation--than it is to effect change at our industry's top publications.

1/22/2008 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

I've already spoken with Christian about the firestorm Tyler's muckraking has caused, and while it's a victory for journalistic objectivity, it's also a loss for criticism, which unlike strict journalism, is rooted in opinion, judgment, and the interpretation of a subject that often resists it.

What scares me here, Pedro's suggestions largely, is your call for regulation. What does the FCC do, Pedro? Beyond the technical issues they deal with, they regulate CONTENT. Do you think the government would draw any separation between ethics, in this case, and morality? Janet Jackson's nipple caused the Bush administration drones at the FCC to have a stroke. Howard Stern, a clown, had to switch to private satellite radio, to avoid the meddling of conservative and politically correct censorship, which would come from both sides of the aisle.

Has everyone forgotten what Jessie Helms and Congress did to the NEA? How about Giuliani's ignorant reaction to Sensation? Perhaps the museum should've thought better than to subsidize Saatchi's collection, but I would defend every artist's right to show in that exhibition even if I didn't agree with the work. Giuliani is a presidential candidate. If that alone doesn't instill you with fear, then I don't know what else could?

I am making this argument, because even if I think the Whitney Biennials are often lacking in many ways, the last thing I ever want is the government trying to tell a private institution, like my gallery, what they can and can't show. If you think it would result in an egalitarian dream, I suggest something far, far worse would await us, something like a nightmare.

Please, this thread is stomach churning and downright scary. Wake up people, the majority doesn't rule art, the individual does, and I shouldn't have to worry about what you think, nor should any artist pressing from the outside, the other, the different. Some of us are here to just fuck with things.

1/22/2008 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

I said: It's one thing for critics to write a catalog essay now and then, or to curate a show, or to speak at an institution--these are all entities connected with same-color threads--but it's something else entirely for them to be involved in the commercial venture of an art fair.

Anonymous responded: Why? Everything is a commercial venture.

Rebuttal: Fair enough, but it's a matter of scale. Perhaps a powerful, well-known critic (who's being paid a better-than-living wage by a major publication) should not be writing essays. But most critics aren't in that situation. They need to use their skills--critical thinking and writing ability--to earn a living. And because their power is limited, it's not an issue. I mean, how much power does a not-big-name critic have over anything except a few egos?

As for critics or dealers lecturing in universities--well, university is where students SHOULD hear from the people in the artworld who will have some bearing on their careers. Because it's a small world, critics see the work of students, and perhaps put one in a show. Is this an occasional "find" we're talking about or is there a larger pattern? Everyone is looking to be discovered.

Relatedly, Anonymous 1:02:00 brings up another issue, that of Carol Vogel continually quoting Andrew Fabrikant, who's married to a VP of contemporary at Christies. One time we can assume he's a guy with an opionion; more than that, it's a reasonable question. Is she still doing it? If not, presumably she has been called on it. If she hasn't, then her editors need to be called to account as well.

I do think that these discussions in the blogosphere and elsewhere get back to the people who need to be aware of them. Point out lapses. Harp, harangue, question and query if you see a pattern. Organize a few artworld symposia, even, but don't even think of regulating.

1/22/2008 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that fraud, ordinary contract protection, and public airing of unethical practices not enough?

Perhaps there's a sense that the art market accepts these conflicts of interest -- most people in the market seem to know about them in general, if not in the particulars.

It's true that in the corporate security sector, the SEC regulates disclosure and laws preclude anti-competition practices, like insider trading (because inside information is presumed), that hurt the integrity of the securities market, but in large measure, investments in companies are made up of thousands of investors in pieces (buying pieces of paper that represent x, y and Z rights), in contrast to the art market in general, where at least as I understand it, investors in an artwork are at most a consortium of a few. In the piecemeal world of securities, integrity of the market is everything; in art, there's still the work. As art investing turns to investment of art-related securities (we'll trade pretty much anything, won't we?) those securities will fall more into the rubric/model of market securities, and all sorts of regulation will pop up, although not necessarily on the underlying art transaction or for the benefit of the artist.

What does one expect to accomplish with regulation? By the time the privileged group "controlling" the marketplace is willing to accept regulation, one can bet they anticipate it will buttress their position/the status quo against competitive pressures. Regulation has a way of producing and entrenching its own set of problems, including unintended negative consequences of "well meaning" regulation, and entrenching interest groups that the market place can't match. Once begun, it tends to be hard to undo regulation; cost of compliance can create barriers to entry/participation; letting in government regulation opens the door, at least a crack if not more, for some level of encroaching censureship under the guise of enforcing the regulations.

1/22/2008 05:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joanne:

it's not that C. Vogel shouldn't quote A Fabrikant; it's that if she's going to quote him, she should identify his personal interest in what he's talking about. "According to Andrew Fabrikant, independent dealer and husband of...."

I don't know if she's still quoting him; not that I've noticed lately.

1/22/2008 05:52:00 PM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

a.Don't be afraid William, I don't think you read me well.

b.I don't see anything wrong about critics giving lectures at Universities. Also writing a catalog essay and getting paid for it is not wrong. One thing is a catalog essay and another is a review... artists should have the capacity to list both in their CV just as what they are. And collectors and curators should have the capacity of understanding the difference also.

c. I agree it is impossible to not have some sort of conflict when writing about art or dealing with the market.

1/22/2008 06:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Oregon:
The artist can know who bought the work....

This is a little off subject, but it's related to the issue of regulation and its effectiveness.... What is the purpose of the Oregon law? How does this law benefit an artist? Unless there's additional enabling legislation that allows an artist to act upon this information, it doesn't seem to do much. As a collector, I wonder what an artist would do with this information.

In general, most of the pro-regulation comments seem concerned with regulating the commercialization of art, not the regulation of "Art" or content, but to accept this form of regulatory scheme is, in my opinion, to accept that the art being produced is merely a commodity, a position that would be both tragic and woefully inaccurate (based on a comparison of my collection's gallery invoices to auction results--not that I'm complaining or concerned!).

1/22/2008 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

the collector peter brandt owns Brandt Publications - no one tells him he can't promote his collection or whatever.

A lot of artists take ideas that at the least are in the air and use superior position and or wealth to produce and market them. that's the game right?

What about collecting widely for investment (spray and pray)? Is it ethical to pump and dump? No, and thats why you don't sell to chumps.

I'd regulate that bro!

Why did CVF show his hand? Insecurity? I think it was a desire to be caught as real voice, a crusader. Too bad he wasn't a better writer. - maybe he could get a gig at Modern Painters - they like to gas on about how things are gonna change - they can feel you.

Yes this whole argument is silly. What isn't a conflict of interest?

1/22/2008 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Oriane said...

anon 6:21,

" How does this law benefit an artist?"

An artist should know who her collectors are to understand her market, to participate more fully in decisions and strategies related to her career. A gallery who wants to keep this info from the artist doesn't trust the artist to not go behind the dealer's back and deal directly with the collector. Edw has talked about the need for trust going both ways in the artist/dealer relationship. I would have a problem with a dealer who didn't want to share this info. If an artist and dealer are working together toward a common goal (furthering the career of both), they need to really be partners and not keep things from each other.

Also, an artist should have a mailing list, including all her collectors, so she can keep them informed of shows she's participating in at other venues, etc.

1/22/2008 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Anonymous 5:20, you are absolutely correct. I edited my remarks before sending, and a sentence or two seems to have been deleted. Of course a source should be identified for her/his relationship to the topic. And if there's a deeper or less visible connection, well that requires more than an identification; it requires a disclosure.

1/22/2008 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Too bad he wasn't a better writer.

Look up "irony" in the dictionary, and you'll find this quote.

1/22/2008 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

I’m still at a loss here, what do those in favor of regulation want to regulate?

As someone else mentioned, there are already laws which cover fraud etc. In the real world these are violated anyway and people are forced to take legal recourse, what would be any different in the art world.

Frankly, if a writer can make a good case for something in his/her criticism why should I care if there is an apparent conflict of interest? Frankly, I don’t, all I really care about is if their content makes sense.

What I would rather not see is for the power of the critics to become concentrated like it was in the past. I can live with the idea of ten ‘king makers’ but not one. What is needed is disagreement between the various camps.

The art world needs more writers, not fewer writers. They should be judged on the criticism they write. In other words criticism should become a competitive sport.

1/22/2008 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

And while I’m at it. What’s wrong with a critic collecting art? Frankly, I can’t respect one who does not.

1/22/2008 08:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an atheist but AMEN to George's and EW's last comments.

1/22/2008 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger j.martin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/22/2008 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger j.martin said...

Things considered; there probably should be some sort of regulation on the fine arts community. From my perspective, there seems to be some suggestion of a vast unseen net of self-support for those celebrity artists who somehow worked their way up there and got caught. Likely, there is a large amount of backscratching and horizontal nepotism that exists, as surely there must be some unethical practices taking place. I do not support these, and as a potential artist would like it to stop unless someone is going to throw me a line into said net.

All things considered; I don't trust the government. There, I'm almost sure that ethically questionable practices take place, not ironically guarded by the guise of ethics; and seriously doubt at the ease in which money flows through small hands in the art world would keep bigger ones clean. (More) Regulation cannot take place until trustworthy people are enforcing it. Which is likely not in this or many future lifetimes.

The art world is, thankfully, characterized in part by its freedom. That freedom is necessarily raw, unclean at times, and absolutely rich with oppurtunities and colorful bacteria cultures (which may or may not cure cancer). The more sanitation it recieves, the less of a world it will be.

1/22/2008 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Aaron Wexler said...

There is no way to regulate the art world/market.

There are ways however of becoming a better, more educated business person and artist. Its really up to the individual to take up that responsibility.
Nobody else will do it for you. Unfortunately art school doesn't teach that.

I personally feel lucky to be able to make my own choices about what is working for me and what isn't
in this business. Do you really want someone else making regulations for you?

Yikes.

1/22/2008 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

One thing I’m noticing lately is how much talk there is in the art world about money. I’m guilty, as I blog about finance.

However, I would like to point out that what is important is the art, not the money.

We are living in a very unusual moment in art world history, a period where there has been an unprecedented amount of capital available to support the arts. As a result the art world has expanded exponentially and unfortunately many participants expect the art marketplace to remain vibrant and positive forever into the future. This will not happen, sooner or later the art market, along with the other markets for luxury goods, will severely contract.

While I admit it’s fun to debate these issues. Does it really matter what Larry paid for Jeff’s sculpture? How many people in the art world does this really affect, ten at the most I’ll bet. Was it a secret deal? We’re discussing it, so I guess not.

What’s Britney been up to lately?

1/22/2008 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Artists have gained some ground via the internet, but most are still disempowered. If you have read through these archives and other blogs, there are hundreds of stories of artists who have lost work to galleries, who have never been payed, and have had irreplacable work damaged or destroyed.

The writer's strike is making many artist's think about their own relative status or lack thereof.

Anonymous 6:21: Artists would also like to know the names of the collectors in case they leave the gallery and would like to borrow back significant pieces for major exhibitions.

1/22/2008 10:19:00 PM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

In sympathize with Aaron and Martin's comments.

I don't trust the government either but I don't think they will tamper or wanna deal with the artworld much anyways, so legislation would work mostly for for us and applied by us. I also know that's asking too much from the 95% of artists and proffesionals in the arts that earn very little. Unlike say Museum administrators and curators, but that's another class.

Any way you see it looks like maybe a few journalist are the ones interested in this.

If that's the case why don't we all just stop complaining, let conflicts flourish, let speculators run the circus and pretty much let everyone hustle whichever way possible regardless ethics, values and talent. It's much easier that way. Like in the Old West or we can just simply agree that we are no different than the entertainment business. We could save a ton of time and stress that living that way.

1/22/2008 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Irony is that most art writing IS fabulist - as much as Glass or Frey or Seigel, Barrus, Saltz, Hickey, Cotter, JT Mitchell. If you look up "lie by omission" maybe you will find an audience of multitudes huddled under the stairs waiting for table scraps.

Being a good artist, like being a good liar, is what writing is all about.And if you are Sherman Alexie you will disagree, because you staked your claim as "the authentic voice" maybe in the no no nineties.

Who is the authentic voice of the art world? The one that knows Berlin Dada from the free ululations of the Dada of my back yard?

There are absolutely existing ways of regulating the art market. You don't need to formalize the informal methods, but how would it hurt exactly?.

WOuld it cause censorship? Monoculture? Extreme anomie? A drop in the paint to binder ratio in your of cad red?

Without a standardized framework the potential for abuse is just as great with a benign dictatorship (even one of the masses) as with the existing unimpeachable titans of the industry.

As was mentioned in another thread, art fair curators wield enormous power and hold disenfranchized literally millions of dues paying artists who lack the means to travel, rent cars, and schedule hot tub happy endings.

Peer review (nepotism) is in theory the method that new artists most often get recommended to galleries. This is regulation of the work force. The vetting process is important - how better to judge an artist than to observe them in the wild, over several years - to give them a group show and see what kinds of star potential they have?

Most people have no stage presence and make poor gallery artists but great assistants. Assistants should be given more credit - they do much of the backbreaking work involved in creating art fair art - and without their expertise and wisdom, lets face it, nothing of quality would get made.

It takes real leadership to get the ball rolling, and artists are not made, they are born, usually with brush or chisel in hand.

No, you'd have to be ironic to think that a little regulation wouldn't go a long way towards leveling the playing feild in an industry that brands itself as a critical voice, and incubator for cultural leadership. A helping kleig light to those that lack playing fields of their own.

Lets start with a choking hazard poster. or at least a stop-work sign. These things are clear cut, and can be affixed to the bleachers with a little chewing gum or sticky tape.

1/22/2008 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just watched a documentary on John Lennon that broke my heart. That was an artist.

1/22/2008 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think people here understand all the issues. Conflicts...

Let me give an example; a true story:

Our local "critic", with some national exposure, is organizing shows in art fairs (booths). He raises the money to pay for his trips by asking local collectors. He makes everybody very uncomfortable because they are afraid of not cooperating would mean a hate article/"review" of their collections or museum activities as board members or person.

This is clearly an ethics issue but....

How do you deal with it?

1/22/2008 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/22/2008 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Yeah George you tell em. I just wrote: Hire some guns and kick the dude's ass. Or call in the DEA for some hands on hard body RICO action.

But seriously, I dont see why formal rules - like a Bushido code would be worse than the current social ambiguity.

1/22/2008 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Or not. Whatever.

1/22/2008 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger BAD said...

An anonymous commenter linked to this Tyler Green tirade:

Today we look at ArtForum's relationship with John Kelsey. Kelsey is a writer (he writes reviews and macro-pieces for AF), a gallery director (of Reena Spaulings Gallery), an artist (recently represented by American Fine Arts), and a member of the cooperatives Bernadette Corporation and Reena Spaulings.

(Perhaps Kelsey and ArtForum think that if they confuse enough people, no one will notice ArtForum's trademark incestuousness.)



Can you imagine an artist who ran a space where his artist and poet friends performed? And also published a journal championing their works?

Or a painter and photographer who works as a graphic designer for a magazine that features his own works, sometimes on the cover?

That would be Tristan Tzara and Alexander Rodchenko, respectively.

Of course, the art community is much bigger today and has much more money and power than it did in the early 20th century. But I don't think the number of truly talented people with good ideas has increased proportionately, which is why the same names crop up again and again in Artforum, and artists whose shows are chosen for reviews are asked to write Top 10s, and artists who are also gifted writers are asked to contribute essays. A magazine becomes interesting and historically valuable when it presents a specific vision of what art is, and that means excluding a lot of people and continually highlighting a select few.

Is that really a despicable thing? Who is being exploited or hurt in this situation?

In any case, it's a lot better than regulating the art world to the point where it is completely corporate and professionalized.

The best thing that could result from regulation would be pockets of artists, writers and curators who cared enough about each other's works to organize an underground alternative to the regulated art world.

1/22/2008 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

I feel you, bad. But look, I don't think its a matter of lack of talent - that's a myth. There is no bell curve when it comes to art.

I think instead that talent is just more redundant - or in marketing terms, the brands are undifferentiated.

The solution to this redundancy is to group the brands (self organizing rule systems or "regulation"), creating brand synergy between genres (hello academy!) - and you see people branding that idea (meta)in tribal form - though in actual practice the results can be predictably unremarkable (Reena Spauling's vapid "novel" tortures the boundaries between trustafarian and cadaver)

I think it's a privilege to call yourself an Artist and it's something you have to earn. And because an Artist does, he or she has the ability to create new and better realities, and improve conditions.

Semper Fi

1/23/2008 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

ok i had a bit of a fast twitch there - niche marketing need not be diverse - you can create financial intruments based on genre or trope rather than individual artists in your collection. You could collect ONLY things having to do with cats.

Instead of work by a few artists, you could collect the image from multiple artists say 100 to 200.

Thats doable as a financial instrument without assigning intellectual ownership of a trope or genre to an individual.

For example, Damien Hirst "owns" the diamond encrusted skull.

Or does he? What if you gave "the skull" franchise to someone else - maybe a collective in South America.

Beyond that, in terms of concept (I know you can monetize concepts - anyone got the link for that?) - Hirst is squatting on Mortality - I find this objectionable on a number of grounds. Can we get a ruling on that?

It gets too Machiavellian for me and I'm no expert, so I'll stop there. (but do tell me if you know a good doctoral program that could keep me in ramen noodles and beer, I would love to help restructure the art world - I hope you are as excited as I am by all this)

1/23/2008 08:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading all of this, I guess I'm inclined towards creating and implementing some community guidelines; ethics and standards to improve the perception of the industry. Does the art world really want the negative reputation it has begun to develop? In the long term does this help the business and institution of the arts? I agree that government will come in if there is a big scandal. Then it will be too late. That would be bad for everyone. Maybe it's time for some self policing. Usually in the longterm, the best business person is the honest broker. Too much boom inspired wheeling and dealing could break us all when the market finally cools off.

1/23/2008 07:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

----Why did CVF show his hand? Insecurity? I think it was a desire to be caught as real voice, a crusader.---

don't know about the crusader part, but CVF wasn't ever shy about his connections to the art market, and his championing of certain artists. I heard him say, in a public talk that he gave several months ago, that he was still involved with certain artists that he met while at Roebling Hall. And to make sure that none of us missed his endorsements, he showed multiple images of a few of these artists and went on at length about his relationship to them (which he seemed very proud of), none of which seemed to be as a critic. I remember wondering, how is this not a conflict of interest? It seemed like such a blatant exploitation of his position of power, although I would bet he viewed it as "enthusiasm".

So, the problem existed from the beginning, before he took on the art fair gigs. It's hard to believe that the VV didn't know about it. One thing's for sure-- he was completely upfront about all of it at this public forum.

But back to regulations: his case is fairly B&W, but what about all the other 'arrangements' out there? And it's not just the art business end, artists are just as guilty of this. (and I don't absolve myself here, btw) Everyone knows of some artist who got an award because s/he knew someone on the jury. As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say it's nearly impossible to be awarded any of the prestigious grants, commissions, etc. if you don't know someone on the jury. Except it's referred to as "community". Or something.

1/24/2008 12:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The case of CVF was a clear case of a breach of journalistic ethics. The VV did the right thing. I agree that letting this happen was problematic on their part.

Praising "handshake culture" seems particularly dubious. I'm listening to a news report on the subprime market and I'm thinking give me a boring old contract any day.

The art world has too many "floating guidelines" that it assumes everyone shares. In other words, everyone has their own purely self interested rationalizations of their ethical behavior. More clarity is needed. Handshake culture is the last refuge of fraud.

1/24/2008 07:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me clarify...

I don't think EW understands what Ethic/s means.

Modern ethics is a basic set of rules and how to behave according to a situation. The first and most important rule/postulate is that you don't do anything in/for self interest.

Each industry, religion or whatever might have their own set of rules but you can't call them ethical or moral (they mean the same) if your actions benefit you or your own group only.

For example, good behavior/actions is ethical but if you behave because that means you are going to heaven that is religious ethics/morals. You do it because you will benefit from it and not because is the right thing to do. Once you understand it your sense of right and wrong changes and empathy becomes very important, for example.

CVF might be a voice, needed then, somebody that started in Williamsburg and is moving to the centers of art but his actions and writing have a different meaning and clarity now in the broader context. What worked and was useful there is unethical outside the small gallery district of Williamsburg.

You can apply modern ethics to everything and keep in mind that they don't shift or will bend according to particular situations or needs.

EW, if you want to call it Williamsburg morals/ethics go ahead and by all means defend him but that is the correct and only disclosure you should make.

1/24/2008 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I'm listening to a news report on the subprime market and I'm thinking give me a boring old contract any day.

Why? Because the banks didn't have contracts with the borrowers or their insurers? Lots of good that did anyone. Other than lawyers, I mean.

Handshake culture is the last refuge of fraud.

Fraud is much more rampant in other industries than the arts (with Government, manufacturing, and the healthcare industries leading the way...not exactly worlds known for their handshake culture).

Personally, I prefer to work on a handshake. I've had this bite me in the ass, and I'm sure there are those who feel I've taken advantage of it myself. In the end, though, it makes the art industry one of the most enjoyable to work in. The more corporate it becomes, the more it will attract bottom-line-minded types to run it. I can't see that as an attractive alternative to discussing the issues openly on public forums and holding folks accountable via the court of public opinion. Everyone in the art business lives or dies by their reputation, and their reputation catches up with everyone eventually.

Regulation, again, probably should have happened a long time ago in the arts. I for one remain happy we're not there yet.

I don't think EW understands what Ethic/s means.

There seems to be a running notion in this thread that I didn't see the potential for the conflict of interest here. I did.

I guess where that's coming from is the request on my part to reconsider whether such conflicts automatically disqualify someone from writing criticism, when there might be some other system whereby that could still happen (especially if the writer is a voice people are willing to pay to read).

EW, if you want to call it Williamsburg morals/ethics go ahead and by all means defend him but that is the correct and only disclosure you should make.

OK, here's where my patience ends.

I'll make any fucking disclosure I wish at any fucking time I wish and you can shove your judgmental uninformed opinions up your ass. Seriously, how fucking dare you anonymously question my grasp of ethics or dictate the terms under which I should question where we stand as an industry? Who the fuck made you master of morality around here, Anonymous? Either put your name on such inflammatory accusations or keep them to yourself.

1/24/2008 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disagree with the comment about EW and ethics. He and most dealers are ethical hard working people who do their best to be honest with the people they deal with. And I agree that the art world is a better place for not having outside regulations. That said, public perception about the art world could be better on issues like nepotism, etc. From the perspective of journalistic ethics it's a different matter and a different set of ethics. My comment on handshake culture is meant to reflect the gray area that develops when people are unclear about their ethical and economic relationships. [As many people were who were involved in the sub-prime mortgage market.] Apologies if it came off too strong or offensive, would like not to contribute to the blog atmosphere of aggression but actually discuss this a bit, because I think it effect us all if there is a public perception of corruption in the arts.

1/24/2008 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Apologies if it came off too strong or offensive, would like not to contribute to the blog atmosphere of aggression but actually discuss this a bit, because I think it effect us all if there is a public perception of corruption in the arts.

It's hard to keep Anonymous's straight around blogs, but depending on what you wrote, apology accepted.

I would have hoped that by both admitting openly that regulation won't be any fun for me but that perhaps it's overdue (just don't expect me to argue in favor of it) AND that acknowledging that there are indeed issues to be discussed here, that my personal ethics or grasp thereof wouldn't be called into question. However, once the dialog turns to accusations that just because I disagree with someone else on some of the finer points I don't know what "ethics" means or that I subscribe to some inferior guidelines because my gallery began in Williamsburg (I mean, really! WTF?), you can expect me to respond with force.

Either we have a mature discussion about this, without accusations, or I shut the conversation down. In trying to provide a forum for these ideas, I'm not inviting unsubstantiated allegations or speculations about my personal integrity. If we disagree, that's all it means: we disagree. It doesn't mean you can project all kinds of ignorance about ethics or lapses of integrity onto me or my business. And any one who thinks they can dis Williamsburg here and get away with it is very sorely mistaken. I'm very proud of our roots.

1/24/2008 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Buck Naked said...

Edward_:

"I can't see that as an attractive alternative to discussing the issues openly on public forums and holding folks accountable via the court of public opinion"

Let me tell you about my Chrohn's disease.

1/24/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Let me tell you about my Chrohn's disease.

Why? Does someone want to regulate your digestive system? :-)

By the way, for folks who don't know, Buck Naked runs a good example of why regulation may not be as necessary in the age of the Internet as it was when abuses were not as readily communicated. Howsmydealing? We check it constantly.

1/24/2008 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am anonimous 8:13 am and not 10:13 am.

You see Edward, you don't understand. Hear me out please.

This is a perfect example of Ethics. In this case blogger ethics.

You are part of the Blogger community/Co. and they allow anonimous posts. I am anonimous because I choose to be. It is totally ethic. If you disagree with that choice you should change the option in your blog. You can. That doesn't mean your blog is inferior or did I mean to say that Williamsburg ethics are inferior like you said. The rules are very clear for everybody.

The Williamsburg scene, like any young scene demanded people doing many different jobs withhin it. Dealers had two jobs in order to keep the gallery going, Some were artists themselves, etc., many hats. Friends wrote articles, essays, and did stuff for other friends and artists installed their own shows and did even some selling, whatever, many hats as well. When you move out of a small-young scene everything changes. Scrutiny is part of the territory, limelight, the center, where there are many players. Simple.

There you see, when you move to bigger and broader, plain Ethics apply. You can't have many hats, you have to choose. No comflicts, no appereances of conflict. Simple.

I didn't mean to upset you.

1/24/2008 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous stinky said...

Certainly. I agree with that. Sorry for the anonymous as well. Call me "stinky" ;-)

My initial point had to do with establishing community guidelines for the industry. Very difficult to be sure. But my concern is that we don't want to create a public perception of nepotism or insider trading, etc. This is just bad business. The arts have come too far to let that happen. We all love the arts here and would hate that.

As far as the journalistic issues, I'm sorry, but I have to agree with the VV. Their business rests in part on their reputation for journalistic integrity. They need to protect this. [The ethics of how they pay their writers is another matter.]

You mentioned Frieze in one post which interested me. I think they can probably be looked at as a glossy trade magazine running a trade show [their art fair]. That's fairly commonplace in the publishing industry. Perhaps they could have an ombudsman to protect their editorial credibility if it is questioned.

I see your point on the openness of art relationships. Unfortunately, I've seen that kind of word of mouth deals turn sour as well. I tend to like having a piece of paper, even if it isn't in legalese or binding so that both parties are clear on what's expected of them. Misunderstandings are far more common than fraud. [Once again excuse the rhetorical excess.]

I disagree about the corruptness of most American business and government. We are all aware of the current scandals, but in general, the rule of law still applies and can be very effective if we take our democratic responsibility seriously.

1/24/2008 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

You see Edward, you don't understand.

Well to my mind, and I did hear you out, you don't understand.

I don't argue for a new code of ethics because I don't see the potential for a conflict of interest in people wearing different hats (and working in Chelsea now, I can tell you, the distinction you seem to think becomes apparent once one crosses the East River exists solely in your imagination [artists still curate, artists still write, writers still curate, artists still install their own exhibitions (and WHY would that be a conflict of interess????), etc. etc. etc. even in Manhattan]), I argue for a new code of ethics to be considered because the current one doesn't address (or at least doesn't prevent) the list of other potential conflicts CVF noted, and given the way the art world, even in Manhattan, is incredibly small compared to most other industries, I'm not sure how the current code can.

I noted I'm not calling for stricter guidelines (nor am I necessarily calling for looser guidelines, per se) but rather more practical guidelines set in the real world and not as ambiguous as so-called "plain Ethics."

So, again, to my mind, you don't understand.

Meaning, ultimately, as I noted, that we merely disagree. Not that either of us has a better grasp of "ethics," per se.

1/24/2008 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I disagree about the corruptness of most American business and government.

Not sure where that's coming from. I noted that fraud is more common in industries other than the arts, making the idea the "handshake culture" is the last refuge of fraud seem somewhat unsupported.

You mentioned Frieze in one post which interested me. I think they can probably be looked at as a glossy trade magazine running a trade show [their art fair].

I'm not comfortable with how much hedging you're having to do here to argue there's no conflict there, to be quite honest. I'm willing to accept there is none, but your argument isn't convincing me.

1/24/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree.

8:13 am

1/24/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Ethan said...

Edward,

What are you thoughts on disallowing anonymous comments? I don't mind the anonymity so much as the confusion as to who is who.

It seems to me that if someone really wants to post anonymously, that they could take a few minutes to create a pseudonymous blogger account.

1/24/2008 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous stinky said...

I guess I don't agree that fraud is running rampant in American government and business. Certainly not compared with other parts of the world. [Take the situation in Kenya as an example.] But without statistics, its hard to back up either side of this discussion.

I'm not really trying to defend or attack Frieze; just noting where they might fit in the accepted journalistic models. It's very tricky to set up "ethical practices" rules in today's media environment, to be sure. But again, I think an ombudsman of some sort might help their credibility. Someone not connected with the magazine or fair commenting on the editorial. It's common enough in other forms of journalism.

As far as the comments on wearing different hats, I agree that is unavoidable. Especially give the economic situation. My concern is that we all seem to have very vague notions of what is "ethical" and they may or may not jive with any one else's.

Enjoy the thread, very interesting topic.

1/24/2008 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I guess I don't agree that fraud is running rampant in American government and business.

I'm not saying it is. The article I linked to looked at where fraud is most common. The reason I linked to it was to question whether fraud is actually more likely in industries with handshake cultures, as suggested, or not. The evidence seems to suggest not.

My concern is that we all seem to have very vague notions of what is "ethical" and they may or may not jive with any one else's.

Totally agree. I'm not sure a new code of ethics would even be feasible, but discussing it like this is good IMO all the same.

1/24/2008 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone is intereted in reading today's LA Times.

They have a report about a raid involving museums, curators and galeries.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/arts/la-me-museums25jan25,1,3745082.story?page=1&ctrack=1&cset=true

Also in The Guardian they have a short article about CVF.

8:13 am

1/24/2008 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous stinky said...

[Apologies; I missed the link, this thread is a bit long.]

I think that article is commenting on businesses where there is a clear and transparent accounting of transactions; something like financial services. In an handshake culture it is very hard to know what is actually going on because of the lack of documentation. Thus the public perception of impropriety; even when it is unjust and completely unwarranted.

I guess I think "regulation" is often an easy straw-man to attack. OSHA, the FDA and the EPA are government regulatory bodies I totally support. But again, my position is that government intervention here is inappropriate and potentially harmful. I agree with you, that it is better we figure it out for ourselves.

Also journalistic and art business standards of ethics are necessarily different. Maybe we are looking at a conflict of industry standards here as much as anything else?

I guess we have to agree to disagree on handshakes vs contracts. Perhaps it has more to do with individual risk tolerance levels. I sleep better with something [anything] in writing; less stress and confusion... and less potential for one party to claim ignorance of their end of the bargain if it becomes inconvenient.

As far as creating a new code of ethics being unfeasible, you're probably right. But without talking about it, misunderstandings about the existing standards are much more likely to occur.

[Noticed the LA Times and Guardian link will read. Thanks.]

1/24/2008 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Art Newspaper, about ethics and an art fair in China.

http://www.theartnewspaper.com/article.asp?id=7431

1/24/2008 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

THere can be interest in art without conflict of interest - its best expression is in much unscripted reality television and lower tier art.

How about a one artist one critic rule? Better still, the critic could double as a life coach and personal assistant.

Boom!

CVF, your name is mud and its spelled muddle. You will not be coming to any of my parties, because I don't throw any parties, and if I don't throw any aprties, you can't dance, and that means you are dead dead dead to me, just like the rest of this intersubjective web of deceit we call the big lie, or the great Satan or the Beast or Leviathan or simply, the media.

I'd argue that CVF is a conceptual critic - Elizabeth Peyton is a conceptual painter, Damien Hirst is a conceptual sculptor, and Julian Schnabel is a conceptual sleepwalker. You go pajama boy!!!!

1/24/2008 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Or call in the DEA for some hands on hard body RICO action.

any other Operating Thetans out there?

Winkleman your cocaine statue is clever, but we tested it, and we are coming for you.

1/25/2008 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Winkleman your cocaine statue is clever, but we tested it, and we are coming for you.

How exactly did you test it? Please tell me no one licked it.

1/25/2008 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a nude, right? and people keep mentioning "the Johnson" and now you're talking about licking it?

1/25/2008 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

it's a nightmare, I know

1/25/2008 09:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then there's Jackson's Hole.

1/25/2008 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous stinky said...

Yes, very impressive biceps.

Completely off topic; does anyone know what's being set up to help the artists from 475 Kent? Any way to donate couch space, etc?

1/26/2008 12:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

475 Kent?

1/26/2008 11:10:00 AM  

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