Public Forum: Museum Interventions

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Wednesday, January 16, 5:30pm
at 516 ARTS, FREE

How are activists confronting the system of art museums?

516 ARTS presents the public forum Museum Interventions in conjunction with the exhibition Currency: What do you value?, which asks questions about the relationship between art, labor and economics. Join Noah Fischer of the art collective Occupy Museums and Andrea Steves and Timothy Furstnau of the art collective FICTILIS for a discussion that addresses their interventions dealing with economic inequality and challenging the idea of what a museum is.

FICTILIS’ work strives to bridge the gap between social and environmental activism, questioning the value and function of institutions like museums. The Museum of Capitalism in Oakland, CA is an example of one of their interventions. They say, “We bring other artists, non-artists, and community groups into our collaborations and create new relationships. Our work is research-based, rigorously interdisciplinary, conceptually oriented, and seriously playful. In no particular order. Much of our work attempts to expose and/or bridge the gap between Social and Environmental activism. Our projects often involve the creation of semi-fictional institutions, motivated by the understanding that all institutions are, at some point, semi-fictional.” FICTILIS works out of Oakland, California.

Occupy Museums is an art collective that grew out of the Occupy Wall Street movement to address issues around inequity in the art world and beyond. They have experimented with many tactics in a variety of situations and campaigns internationally. Their project at 516 ARTS, Debtfair New Mexico, is an ongoing intervention that began at Art League Houston and appeared at the Whitney Biennial in 2017. They ask artists, “How does your economic reality affect your art?” They teamed up with 516 ARTS to put out a call to New Mexico artists, and use the data they collected to explore the real impacts of debt on the cultural economy at large. The collective aims to expose the relationships between economic inequality and artists’ debt burdens. The installation incorporates the work and data of 97 New Mexico artists and reveals a unique portrait of the state’s economic realities.

The forum is moderated by Erin Elder, an independent curator and consultant who has a business called Gibbous Creative, offering professional services to committed artists at pivotal moments in their careers to support a sustainable creative lifestyle. With a unique focus on supporting artists and organizations with hybridized or multi-disciplinary practices, Gibbous steers clients towards a more authentic engagement with the new creative economy.

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