In Other Words - #79: Collaboration is the antidote to the poison

From acts of solidarity to new business models, many in the art world are teaming up during this pandemic to bolster the system and rethink its infrastructure. Joining us for today’s show are guests including financial journalist Felix Salmon; gallerists Sadie Coles of Sadie Coles HQ and Vanessa Carlos of Carlos/Ishikawa; artist Doron Langberg; culture and politics writer Marisa Mazria Katz; and nonprofit executives Carolyn Ramo of Artadia and Deana Haggag of United States Artists. “We are all p

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Hello and welcome to in other words for we cover everything you ever wanted to know about the art world, but didn't know who to ask. I'm your host Charlotte Bynes and in these unusual times, we're bearing of our usual course collaboration as a vaccine against present and future troubles with something the critic Christian was I was born a rope in a reason and other words newsletter inspired by that. We want to take a look at what is happening in the art world right now how people working together to both of the system and we think it simple structure. It's been a busy week of interviewing remotely and joining us for Today Show August include the financial journalist Felix salmon calories Sadie Coles of Sadie Coles HQ and Vanessa Carlos of Colossus Chicago the artist doron langberg the Caltrain politics rice at Marissa mazarick hats the nonprofit Executives current enrollment of Cadia and Deana haggag. All the United States artists.

Before we get into the episode here is your regular reminder to subscribe to all in otherwise newsletter at agency And now on Today Show.

So what we've seen is basically this huge global economy is this incredibly complex machine that no one really understands has ground to a hold the gears has stopped moving and the whole way. The machine was designed was on Ford momentum when the give stuff everything breaks. We have hundreds of millions of people around the world losing their jobs. We have people being unable to make that payment for rent payments. We have entire economies just Contracting the Chinese economy shrank in the first quarter of this year, which is never done since the cultural revolution in 1976. We're going to have the worst Global recession probably of old-time this yeah, that's Felix salmon. He's an award-winning writer editor podcaster and the chief financial correspondent axios.

Don't just look at the stock market is an indication of what's happening to the economy. What's happening to the economy is much worse than what's happening to the stock market people are really hurting people don't know when they're going to be able to go back to work when incomes are going to be able to stop flowing again. And that's absolutely true of the Art Market as well that everything is based on flows. We have a world which is very very good reason not moving right now and unless and until that will stop moving again that you cannot make shocks. It just going to be absolutely massive in the refrigeration to likely to last for decades.

In these challenging times that has been forced on both strength and comfort and numbers at spots pandemic around 55 London Gallery spend it together to form a WhatsApp group The collaboration spearheaded by Sadie Coles who founded Sadie Coles HQ in London in 1997, and it's a recent another word. Guess I'm going to call us who founded call us Ishikawa in 2011 and launch the gallery showing initiative condo in 2016 the city and Vanessa. Can you tell me how the sausage and what's been happening? Lots of issues that never Gallery big or small with icing and then it would be useful to shy information resources and ideas about both practical issues. I'm bigger picture issues lady gave me a call and help put this together with her what was interesting for me about this.

The killer was this a solidarity to acknowledge that the ecosystem and there's an interdependent instead of a culture and reflective of how I hope that we are re-imagined the art world or on a larger scale the world initially. It was a lot to do with how to reduce costs and how to deal with stuff how to deal with issues around the government Health how to talk to your landlord and that's been quite interesting because of a different level of business help that different size galleries get so full. Information is pooled. It's actually been very very useful, but they have also been discussions about reopening and How likely that looks although I have to say that it's going to be quiet on that front mainly because none of us are in the position to really make any hard-and-fast plans.

Tax advisors in all of these things are the sharing of that information in the group has been really helpful but more and more emerging galleries in shaping the way that things. What going forward I do see it continuing Vanessa said earlier, we are protecting off smulekoffs little encampment and promoting our incomes and and thinking about that. But actually if you stopped reaching out to people it is all about. All good things develop from that and I feel that only good can come of this are the key issues will be the iniquity that the pandemic is exposing. Yes. We are all at sea, but some of us have private yachts and some are costing about The Driftwood the virus is a bit like a mirror that's been smeared an accelerant what we were we will be more so unless we can set up new possibilities right now. We exist in between extremes grief.

Food poverty wealth possibility collapse it has been two weeks since his pandemic hit America and honest and yet already many people are desperate for child safety salvation or even means of survival many of them are artists who often exists at life's peripheries. One of the most impressive collaborations created to deal with the impact of coronavirus is the artist Relief Fund an unprecedented National Coalition between 7 oz grantmakers and a Consortium of Foundations. The fund is offering unrestricted $5,000 need-based grants to office of various disciplines. The fund is currently 10 million dollars including 5 million in seed funding from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.

Joining me for the show or two of the Seven Grand make is khylin. Rhambo who's the executive director of the nonprofit Arts organization artadia and Deana haggag president and CEO of United States artist, which is a national Arts funding organization based in Chicago very quickly in collaboration to produce an unprecedented Relief Fund. How did that come about artist Lewis started with a few phone calls on a Saturday about 5 weeks ago with colleagues and friends. We had a plan quote on quote on how we could provide immediate relief Sparta in a manner that would be as Equitable as possible. We just gave our first grandson Friday and plan to give at least a hundred grand a week until September 1st. It has been absolutely incredible to work at the true Coalition Partners were quickly identified mostly because of what we have in common for all nonprofit organization. We're all grantmaker week.

Directly to individual artists in many different disciplines anymore all national in scope. Once we all gathered it was important that we had a very direct conversation about the resources that each organization could apply committees were even formed to play to eat organization strength. It's also been an entirely egoless process in every way and is it to the quality of the leaders How does the structure of this work? So it is a true Coalition in the fact that everyone participates in it equally in the sense that everyone is holding the work together at the same time, but we live in a legal structure and an accounting structure and a maintenance structure that does need a point person. So for the time being United States artists is holding some of that liability ego when it became clear that legally it infrastructure Ali one organization had to take on the liability. We all just decided who

Could I moved accordingly. Part of it has been really beautiful to pull up something at the scale. A lot of different pieces have to move in stuff. We are fundraising at the same time that we are dispersing Gran. We are running Communications channels at the same time that we are also configuring are messaging. We are building an application at the same time that we are administering it. So yeah leaders all throughout a different steps, but all of us showing up to the leadership challenge pretty equally did you work together in any way before this brand new for you? How did you get to the stage of running points on so many different things in lockstep you're walking and talking at the same time. It's chewing gum. We absolutely did not all know each other which is the most amazing thing about the complete trust that we have in each other. Our mission is something that has United us now complete steadfast focus on artists and supporting them.

It was incredible to just jump in and have this faith in each other. We are new friends and have jokes that we have not all met in person, but spend so much of our virtual time together. Now, am I right in saying that all of the nonprofit so run by women you are right. We are all on my women is that key to this is at Occidental. Is that relevant to you sing to this of collaboration and I all stopped because and otherwise we've done to annual report and collaboration with artnet news looking at in equality in the outworld this came about simply because I knew I could do it by myself and wanted to do it with someone whose opinion I really trusted and who's insights and perspective would know. Make it a much better project and that's what you did have one who's the executive editor Alternet news, and we talked a lot about whether that's a specific way of working. We can't imagine any of our mail that it says whatever of said, oh, let's just not be Rivals and just do something factor that plays to both of us.

What do you think? I think Charlotte you just answered that question perfectly. Yes, correct. I do think that it was not intentional. No one sat down and said hey, let me just name all the female LED individual Parts Grant makers that are doing incredible work and can maybe put their egos aside and figure out a way to get this done clean fast and smart, but that's how the cookie crumbles. So there it is. All the people have been speaking to my realize yesterday. We were in this time launched operation starts working together in different ways sharing power their women essentially said that women are fundamentally different than men but I do think that is probably something about the ways in which women have had to behave professionally, especially if the kind of maleness that has been rewarded in the upmarket his bidding at competitive greediness of wanting to make love of money.

Quickly and also to beat your competitors and do better than the other guy radically different Paradigm of maybe if we all group together we can get through this in the way that we wouldn't be able to do it on. Our own just doesn't appeal to someone who's competitive in that way. I'm with you. I'm not in the sense that side of and I think that that's plenty of men in the outworld who would love to participate in that kind of thing that is, you know, the mega galleries it will basically run by men the big auction houses of old basically run by men and that's a huge ego component Ed buying glue chip out and collecting it and seeing it go off in value in that kind of thing. And this is why you really need to stop putting your ego behind you for a while. If not sure how long the ego-driven pot of the world will be able to do that.

It is impossible to hide from the gender and racial impacts and implications of coronavirus in the u.s. African-American and Hispanic people have been dying at twice the rate of European American women are overwhelmingly on the front lines one in three jobs held by women has been designated as essential according to New York Times analysis a census date that crossed with the federal government essential guidelines on white women are more likely to be doing essential jobs than anybody else.

The office refund is expressly focused on need. So I was curious as to how the grand make his were assessing that and what the applications are revealing. These are for artists to do not have the funding for their rent for food for basic human needs for medical needs for childcare. Which of the guy in something that probably women thought of more than men and it is not necessarily about the work that an artist makes that said this is support for professional or we just asked a really simple questions are application about how the panda make is affecting folks as personal wise and as that information is being relayed to us were really watching it back on to all of the reality is that we understand to be true about how capitalism effects different genders races ethnicities and geographies in this country until I think first and foremost we want to assess that you are an artist we want.

Clear that that's what community were showing up for right now. The next thing is this need if you demonstrated a dire Financial emergency which where to find into me and the imminent endangerment of Andor already loss of food shelter clothing some examples of what we're hearing is parents were skipping meals to feed their kids. I'll just account for their insulin artist for regrowing foods have something to eat because they've overdrafted their bank accounts when they have zero cash flow and no credit a mother who's expecting a child next week and has no cash still coming in at all and is already really terrorized by that experience. So we're talking about some pretty severe stuff and are trying to find those stories in these applicants so that we can uplift those people and buy them some time and then the last thing as the numbers don't work last week, we gave our first hundred grand out of 24000 applicant the cognitive dissonance of that is so massive. How do you even make sense of that number?

Someone who's lived pretty much my entire life and entire career for sure in the Arts of that 100. There were names I recognized and there were plenty. I didn't Merit or no merit this will come for everyone but there are still real reality is that black folks indigenous communities trans hooks disabled folks Elder space that are different. I don't know how we repair things from here given what some of these apps say. I need a few things become really clear that we know but I think they really don't off the page the amount of people that have been living in dire financial needs long before a pendum it now this thing just toppled them over in a way that's very different watching folks that were moving steadily in the world. Suddenly does have a whole thing. Stop literally overnight the weight of that feel so real pretty devastating numbers and you must be feeling the brunt of that. How do you comb through other that vacations? And how do you increase it so that you can give more we are partnering with other not

Partners across the country to help us be to them it was super important for us to make sure that she mends got involved in this process and not enough humans got around it so we could move through the various bias issue is we are reading a lot about moral injury. It is so hard to be the ins and it is so hard to read them back-to-back. And so we knew our team couldn't do it alone and we knew we couldn't keep asking the same people to do it and we have to rotate so that you had some stamina in defense built against the bills partners are all listed on our website and they're discipline-specific. We initially had a goal of 2 million and that was supposed pretty quickly and be reached our goal of 10 million for lunch. It was an incredible day of Pride when we launched knowingly provide so much the port to so many and then I at least had a wave of overwhelming malaise about the tremendous me that is out. There. It is abundantly clear that we just do not have enough funding to provide anywhere close to the amount of me that there is

The Weave now increased our goal to again see if we can raise another 10 million in the next few months. We feel confident that we'll be able to do that but we offer music work as the entire Community to Aid in that we have a mechanism for individuals to provide support to our website. You can go directly on tourist sites and give a tardis beliefs and every single donation is tax exempt we have heard a lot of why is it important to support artist now when the whole nation is suffering and there is of course, but what artist contribute to society is invaluable. But then there's also the five artists are your servers and your school teachers and the people who drive Uber and the folks who are at the laundromat that's been one of the most interesting parallels of some of the data is this idea that artist actually exist at the intersection of more than one gig economy and when we're sitting here saying, why is it important to save the artist? We are just leaving working.

People. In addition to the fact that maybe that person is your bartender and also writing the potentially the Great American novel right now.

Call Marissa Mayer Katz culture and politics writer who was the founding editor of creative time reports and is also the editorial director of I-beam overseeing It Center for the future of Journalism artist more necessary than ever. I'm very interested in artists being heard by as big of an audience as possible. And in this moment when you seems are closed and you can't visit the gallery that you love or that public exhibition is out there, but you're not able to access it and you can't see it because you're in quarantine. This is to me the very moment in which we need to continue hearing from artists. We have to find channels for them to speak loudly to the world. There are so many good artists out there who have incredible ways of looking at the world that completely upended the way that we think about the world and yet sometimes they can be a bit sequestered and they can be separated.

From the world more Ava as Marissa points out. The model of collaboration is two-way for nonprofits is often essential and for shrinking Industries, like the media which went into this pandemic and a tough spots and is probably going to come out worse. It can be a resource for creative thinking that helps with the bottom line. One of the reasons. I have been working with art and journalism for so many years is as a journalist. And I know you understand this really well budgets have been shrinking for years now and a lot of those holes that might have been filled with ambitious ideas and projects in the past are kind of shrinking and some of them are just completely disappearing simultaneous to the idea for us at I-beam of launching a project in which we support artists doing work around this issue.

30000 jobs that were being shed amongst the media landscape in the United States.

So it's in many ways felt like it was underpinning this idea of collaboration as not just stop gaps, but allows Publications and allows artists to work together to imagine and to be ambitious and to think about what we're going through in a way that isn't just regurgitating the news. That was one of the very biggest ideas that have come out of this. How do we collaborate? How do we keep ambitious journalism going through the lens of art some of the most immediately impactful collaborations depend upon the generosity of the artist themselves some fantastic initiatives recently include pictures for Elmhurst 187 Alta Stone a sedan limited edition prints priced at $150 each to raise funds for Elmhurst Hospital Center, which has been called the epicenter of the epicenter of the coronavirus in the United States.

The online sale which raised almost 1.4 million dollars with organized by a handful of normal people working from our homes in a time of Crisis says Shana McClelland. She is the founder of McClelland Communications agency. I'm one of the organizers of the charity initiative people want to help she says and collectively we can be an Unstoppable Force for good this feels like powerful knowledge.

Just launched and running until 8th of May an emergency benefit auction food bank for New York City organized by the young artists. Doron langberg with his Gallery. You'll see me low powered by Odyssey with what's a knighted by almost 100 artists including Nicole Eisenman Cecily Brown and pizza Halle his door and had to say but in principle of came from just being artists on Instagram Share work and offering it for sale to benefit various Charities. My friend Hannah Pearman is running a Instagram page called and I really imagined that we can make something really big and that artist would really mobile Hive so sorry reaching out to close friends and really without exception. The response has just been so phenomenal. So generous people that I haven't really known very closely, but maybe a acquaintances or connect to Instagram didn't even hesitate has been exhilarating and inspiring

Feel like I have some agency that we have some agency is a community.

What are the things that so striking through these conversations by collaborations is it most of it would be impossible at this moment of quarantine and isolation if it wasn't for technology you were inspired by Instagram you are managing to do a load of this through those social media platforms working with oxy which is an online and Company. It's really interesting thing about the ways in which technology is coming to the Forefront here in just old mentink human connections where the physical connection isn't really possible. Absolutely. I mean, I think that most of my communication with the artist have been through Instagram transitions to email but all of us are home, all of us are anxious or frustrated or really looking for a way to be useful to do something to contribute and I think that and it's time people are just much more accessible Hall. Allowed for this really huge momentum. Incredible artists that join together in your gallery has done an extraordinary job.

Eating all that work documenting and I really as a group effort on a different role right now. I'm imagine quite different from your ordinary day job for you is if I could have one off for this moment was when I feel like this has definitely taken over my life the last few weeks and I don't know if I could just a nobly continue to do projects like these and tell be a painter run time for now, but I do think it does build on a community that already exists being part of this community in New York. I just know that it has so much power and does the individual members and I knew that we can really do something meaningful to help operations like these create an immediate impact the fundraises, for example, all literally saving lives business is banding together also helped bolster the industry. For example, David zwirner Gallery learned its platform titled such 212 smaller New York counter is an initiative that was

Allstate in sales for them and in the highest website traffic of the year. If it's Vienna these kinds of axum more than just solidarity and immediate relief. They also offset some of the powerlessness people feel in this moment. They say and many are using them as vehicles to reimagine the Future the sheer volume of applications to the office refund for example reveals something of the depth of this crisis, but it has also elevated the sense of ambition for the grant makers. Then the Arts in particular we have to figure out a way to make this work more valued and to protect these were at $5,000 an artist. How do we even make sense of this? And even if we were to raise a billion dollars would it solve this problem? It is more important now than it ever has been to find ways to infrastructure Artist as a constituency and to make sure that artists are connected to other gig workers. It makes me realize how much of the United States is Buster's San Diego.

How valuable are the start of this nation not just its spirit and its morality, but it's p conomic infrastructure and how the bottom just fell out one Partnerships has been really crucial to artist relief has been our research partnership with Americans for the Arts which are working in overdrive right now to figure out what a short-term and long-term recovery could look like for the sector and to ensure that that is happening in concert with other Industries in our nation because we can never go back. Gas said about what they imagine the future might look like and what they want to see what are the big things that we've been discussing over the past few years decades is the economic inequality in Waverly saying that playing out now and how the pandemic is affecting different communities.

Do you have any hopes that that will shift or do you think that was just Wesson a few days come out basically saying this crisis is confirmed. All of my prayers about how bad in quality isn't is going to change everyone else's Minds on that too. And we all day to collectively unite to reverse this horrible in a quality Trends and anything is possible the very rich chicken to come out of this. Okay, to be honest. I think they're going to come out of it like they come out of the crisis which is better than almost anyone else. They're still going to have excess money and one of the reasons why the stock market is doing so well is that it is the big companies in the big companies have balance sheets and they can survive if everyone else is small companies and little guys or like really suffer that's less competition for the big guys in the big guys do even better and then

Sake so well, there is a case to be made that the super Outfitters 0.1% which is basically the world of art collectors is not going to be that badly affected now, obviously the news for the mid-market Galleries and Stephanie small galleries is much Grimace. It depends which bit of the market by volume my base-case expectation is that it's going to look a little bit like the property Market in New York after 9/11. You'll see prices go where Francisco overruled They will be roughly sideways with on massively reduce volume. So you just won't see the kind of frenzied trading that we used to living and working today. How did they make their way out of this flowing into the kind of little parasitical fish?

Is the total cost of some the big guys wear as at the same time you have hundreds of thousands of artists who creating work and just not really being paid the two unless they can be lucky enough to find themselves to gallery show which people want to stop buying from and that is a really lop-sided way of building an aunt. Well, and I would love to see that welds change radically so that a lot of the more parasitical jobs Fade Into the background of little bit and that's more emphasis placed on normal people buying art from artist. That's the kind of thing that people don't do because the world has been seen to have grown completely out of reach the normal folks and that's crazy in that needs to change.

This is an opportunity to rethink the things that weren't working all the things that we had to come to excessive or stale or uncomfortable in some ways. I think that probably will be a swing back to local Princeton for obvious reasons for the environment for the fear of travel stuff. But I still feel that people will remain interested in I am committed to coach at it's not like I want to retire and Dunn live in the country.

Interesting Theory focus on the things that always mattered having very close relationship started or so our collectors and so on it given these like upcoming set of new circumstances. How can you continue to develop and maintain that once you don't have these moments of the Year where you congregate? I don't know exactly but I think it's really need to think about how we can keep hold of those things that actually really master and what we do and that's them to a new set of circumstances. I'll just also a thing to me to be actively acutely attuned to the possibility of change about what that change might be and what that might mean for the office in sales and what that might mean for the aux system. So to speak is very likely that some of these changes and ideas will be brought to fruition by the office.

In the spirit of collaboration and dialogue are you going to do this town hall meeting platform this idea of a kind of alweld San Jose. Do you want to talk a bit about what the Genesis of the idea was? The Genesis of the idea was that the pace of the art world has become the punishing to both altice and all dealers and collectors. In fact, every practitioner who has skin in the game and whether or not we should address some of those excesses. The original idea was to have this physical meeting in a town home setting a bit like question time where you have a number of practitioners who makes face of the nation type statements and then that colleagues at Community then use those statements as a jumping-off points have a discussion around some of the issues.

Walking out the best technological solution to this since we can't physically Ben is on hold. So essentially a virtual Town hole with live questions for any vileness would like to send ideas or things. I mistakenly hopeful that we discuss now is as good as moment as any to get that dialogue going. So emo me at the usual address Charlotte. Buns at agency and will keep you guys posted as we move forward. This is a moment of a Kaioken. Imagine how it seems might be different even if some of the ideas that come up with crazy and impractical at least idea.

Collaboration is needed more than ever and the more institutions that can be that Gateway can act as the conduit to the large collaborations that can exist that should exist in this current moment the better. I think we're seeing that we're seeing organizations rapidly pivoting and addressing what this current moment needs. I think a lot of Institutions are gearing. They're coming year and years into making and facilitating more of those kinds of collaboration and that stole from us today a huge thanks to all of my gas for taking part from the closets and living rooms and homes around the well speaking of which we've been hearing from more of you than ever. Please keep it coming. Thank you very much for listening. Thank you for getting in touch with us. Stay safe and will be back soon.

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