jueves, 24 de noviembre de 2011

The 1%: Marina Abramovic & Jeffrey Deitch

1) 50 Artists: Open Letter to Jeffrey Deitch
2) Sara Wookey: Open Letter from dancer who refused to participate in Marina Abramović’s MOCA performance
Sara Wookey’s Open Letter
I participated in an audition on November 7th for performance artist Marina Abramović’s production for the annual gala of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. I auditioned because I wanted to participate in the project of an artist whose work I have followed with interest for many years and because it was affiliated with MOCA, an institution that I have a connection with as a Los Angeles-based artist. Out of approximately eight hundred applicants, I was one of two hundred selected to audition. Ultimately, I was offered the role of one of six nude females to re-enact Abramović’s signature work, Nude with Skeleton (2002), at the center of tables with seats priced at up to $100,000 each. For reasons I detail here—reasons which I strongly believe need to be made public—I turned it down.
I am writing to address three main points: One, to add my voice to the discourse around this event as an artist who was critical of the experience and decided to walk away, a voice which I feel has been absent thus far in the LA Times and New York Times coverage; Two, to clarify my identity as the informant about the conditions being asked of artists and make clear why I chose, up till now, to be anonymous in regards to my email to Yvonne Rainer; And three, to prompt a shift of thinking of cultural workers to consider, when either accepting or rejecting work of any kind, the short- and long-term impact of our personal choices on the entire field. Each point is to support my overriding interest in organizing and forming a union that secures labor standards and fair wages for fine and performing artists in Los Angeles and beyond.
I refused to participate as a performer because what I anticipated would be a few hours of creative labor, a meal, and the chance to network with like-minded colleagues turned out to be an unfairly remunerated job. I was expected to lie naked and speechless on a slowly rotating table, starting from before guests arrived and lasting until after they left (a total of nearly four hours. I was expected to ignore (by staying in what Abramović refers to as “performance mode”) any potential physical or verbal harassment while performing. I was expected to commit to fifteen hours of rehearsal time, and sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement stating that if I spoke to anyone about what happened in the audition I was liable for being sued by Bounce Events, Marketing, Inc., the event’s producer, for a sum of $1 million dollars plus attorney fees.
I was to be paid $150. During the audition, there was no mention of safeguards, signs, or signals for performers in distress, and when I asked about what protection would be provided I was told it could not be guaranteed. What I experienced as an auditionee for this work was extremely problematic, exploitative, and potentially abusive.
I am a professional dancer and choreographer with 16 years of experience working in the United States, Canada and Europe, and I hold a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of California, Los Angeles. As a professional artist working towards earning a middle class living in Los Angeles, I am outraged that there are no official or even unofficial standard practice measures for working conditions, compensation, and benefits for artists and performers, or for relations between creator, performer, presenting venue and production company in regard to such highly respected and professionalized individuals and institutions such as Abramović and MOCA. In Europe I produced over a dozen performance works involving casts up to 15 to 20 artists. When I hired dancers, I was obliged to follow a national union pay scale agreement based on each artist’s number of years of experience. In Canada, where I recently performed a work by another artist, I was paid $350 for one performance that lasted 15 minutes, not including rehearsal time that was supported by another fee for up to 35 hours, in accordance with the standards set by CARFAC (Canadian Artists Representation/Le Front Des Artistes Canadiens) established in 1968.
If my call for labor standards for artists seems out of bounds, think of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG, established 1933), the American Federation of Musicians (AFM, founded 1896), or the umbrella organization the Associated Actors and Artistes of America (the 4A’s, founded in 1919), which hold the film, theater and music industries to regulatory and best practice standards for commercial working artists and entertainers. If there is any group of cultural workers that deserves basic standards of labor, it is us performers working in museums, whose medium is our own bodies and deserve humane treatment and respect. Artists of all disciplines deserve fair and equal treatment and can organize if we care enough to put the effort into it. I would rather be the face of the outspoken artist then the silenced, slowly rotating head (or, worse, “centerpiece”) at the table. I want a voice, loud and clear.
Abramović’s call for artists was, as the LA Times quoted, for “strong, silent types.” I am certainly strong but I am not comfortable with silence in this situation. I refuse to be a silent artist regarding issues that affect my livelihood and the culture of my practice. There are issues too important to be silenced and I just happen to be the one to speak out, to break that silence. I spoke out in response to ethics, not artistic material or content, and I know that I am not the only one who feels the way I do.
I rejected the offer to work with Abramović and MOCA—to participate in perpetuating unethical, exploitative and discriminatory labor practices—with my community in mind. It has moved me to work towards the establishment of ethical standards, labor rights and equal pay for artists, especially dancers, who tend to be some of the lowest paid artists.
The time has come for artists in Los Angeles and elsewhere to unite, organize, and work toward changing the degenerate discrepancies between the wealthy and powerful funders of art and the artists, mainly poor, who are at its service and are expected to provide so-called avant-garde, prescient content or “entertainment,” as is increasingly the case—what is nonetheless merchandise in the service of money. We must do this not because of what happened at MOCA but in response to a greater need (painfully demonstrated by the events at MOCA) for equity and justice for cultural workers.
I am not judging my colleagues who accepted their roles in this work and I, too, am vulnerable to the cult of charisma surrounding celebrity artists. I am judging, rather, the current social, cultural, and economic conditions that have rendered the exploitation of cultural workers commonplace, natural, and even horrifically banal, whether its perpetrated by entities such as MOCA and Abramović or self-imposed by the artists themselves.
I want to suggest another mode of thinking: When we, as artists, accept or reject work, when we participate in the making of a work, even (or perhaps especially) when it is not our own, we contribute to the establishment of standards and precedents for our cohort and all who will come after us.
To conclude, I am grateful to Rainer for utilizing her position (without a request from me) of cultural authority and respect to make these issues public for the sake of launching a debate that has been overlooked for too long. Jeffrey Deitch, Director of MOCA, was quoted in the LA Times as saying, in response to receiving my anonymous email and Rainer’s letter, “Art is about dialogue.” While I agree, Deitch’s idea of dialogue here is only a palliative. It obscures a situation of injustice in which both artist and institution have proven irresponsible in their unwillingness to recognize that art is not immune to ethical standards. Let’s have a new discourse that begins on this thought.
Sara Wookey
Final Letter to Jeffrey Deitch and MoCA Regarding Annual Gala
After attending a rehearsal for the annual gala for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Yvonne Rainer produced a final version of the letter to Jeffrey Deitch and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The story of the original letter, in which Rainer argues that Marina Abramović’s entertainment for the gala is exploitative of the performers, appeared on artforum.com yesterday.
The final version of the letter, along with a list of signers supporting its message, is reprinted below:
To Jeffrey Deitch:
After observing a rehearsal, I am writing to protest the “entertainment” about to be provided by Marina Abramović at the upcoming donor gala at the Museum of Contemporary Art where a number of young people’s live heads will be rotating as decorative centerpieces at diners’ tables and others—all women—will be required to lie perfectly still in the nude for over three hours under fake skeletons, also as centerpieces surrounded by diners.
On the face of it the above description might strike one as reminiscent of Salo, Pasolini’s controversial film of 1975 that dealt with sadism and sexual abuse of a group of adolescents at the hands of a bunch of postwar fascists. Though it is hard to watch, Pasolini’s film has a socially credible justification tied to the cause of anti-fascism. Abramović and MoCA have no such credibility—and I am speaking of this event itself, not of Abramović’s work in general—only a questionable personal rationale about the beauty of eye contact and the transcendence of artists’ suffering.
At the rehearsal the fifty heads—all young, beautiful, and mostly white—turning and bobbing out of holes as their bodies crouched beneath the otherwise empty tables, appeared touching and somewhat comic, but when I tried to envision 800 inebriated diners surrounding them, I had another impression. I myself have never been averse to occasional epatering of the bourgeoisie. However, I can’t help feeling that subjecting her performers to possible public humiliation and bodily injury from the three-hour endurance test at the hands of a bunch of frolicking donors is yet another example of the Museum’s callousness and greed and Ms Abramović’s obliviousness to differences in context and some of the implications of transposing her own powerful performances to the bodies of others. An exhibition is one thing—again, this is not a critique of Abramovic’s work in general—but titillation for wealthy donor/diners as a means of raising money is another.
Ms Abramović is so wedded to her original vision that she—and by extension, the Museum director and curators—doesn’t see the egregious associations for the performers, who, though willing, will be exploited nonetheless. Their cheerful voluntarism says something about the pervasive desperation and cynicism of the art world such that young people must become abject table ornaments and clichéd living symbols of mortality in order to assume a novitiate role in the temple of art.
This grotesque spectacle promises to be truly embarrassing. I and the undersigned wish to express our dismay that an institution that we have supported can stoop to such degrading methods of fund raising. Can other institutions be far behind? Must we re-name MoCA “MOUFR” or the Museum of Unsavory Fund Raising?
Yvonne Rainer
Douglas Crimp
Tom Knechtel
Monica Majoli
Liz Kotz
Michael Duncan
Matias Viegener
Judie Bamber
Kimberli Meyer
Kathrin Burmester
Nizan Shaked
Alexandro Segade
David Burns
A.L. Steiner
Simon Leung
Moyra Davey
Taisha Paggett
Susan Silton
Silvia Kolbowski
Susan Mogul
Julian Hoeber
Catherine Lord
Zoe Beloff
Lincoln Tobier
Millie Wilson

Mary Kelly
Charles Gaines
Amy Sadao
Gregg Bordowitz
Andrea Geyer
Lucas Michael
Liz Deschenes
Ulrike Muller
Nancy Popp
Su Freidrich
Dean Daderko
Litia Perta
Ginger Brooks Takahashi
Stefan Kalmar
Bell Hooks
Julie Ault
Zoe Leonard
Molly Corey
Sharon Horvath
Rachel Harrison
John Zurier
Day Gleeson
Thomas Miccelli
John Yau
Ernest Larsen

martes, 22 de noviembre de 2011

Doing the Ethical Thing May Be Right, but It Isn’t Automatic By ALINA TUGEND Published: November 18, 2011 New York Times

FOR the last few weeks, the sex abuse scandal at Penn State and the harassment claims against the Republican presidential candidateHerman Cain have been fodder for discussion at my house. The same is true, I assume, around the country.

Putting aside the specifics of each case, one question that has come up is, “What would I do?” That is, if I saw what seemed to be a crime or unethical act committed by a respected colleague, coach, teacher or friend, would I storm in and stop it? Would I call the authorities immediately? Would I disregard the potentially devastating impact on my job or workplace or beloved institution?
Absolutely, most of us would probably reply. I think so, others might respond. And the most honest answer? I don’t know.
As much as we would like to think that, put on the spot, we would do the right — and perhaps even heroic — thing, research has shown that that usually isn’t true.
“People are routinely more willing to be critical of others’ ethics than of their own,” said Francesca Gino, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, and two other authors in the journal article “See No Evil: When We Overlook Other People’s Unethical Behavior.” The article appeared as a chapter in the book “Social Decision Making” (Psychology Press, 2009). “People believe they are more honest and trustworthy than others and they try harder to do good.”
But our faith in ourselves isn’t borne out by history or research, something the Times columnist David Brooks pointed out in his column this week.
The most well-known example of this in academia is the experiment conducted by the Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram in the early 1960s. In the experiment, participants were “teachers” and, unbeknown to the participants, the “learner” was really an actor. The teacher was to instruct the learner in word pairs. For every wrong answer, the teacher could shock the learner, increasing the intensity of the shock for each wrong answer.
In reality, there were no shocks (the teacher couldn’t see the learner), but the person administering the shocks didn’t know that. In fact, the learner would bang on the wall, supposedly in pain, as the shocks “increased.”
In the end, a majority of the “teachers” administered the strongest shock of 450 volts, and the experiment was replicated elsewhere with similar results. The findings are depressing — that ordinary people can be easily persuaded to do something they believe is wrong.
“People would sit there crying and sweating, but they didn’t want to be rude,” said Carol Tavris, a social psychologist and author of numerous books including, “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)” (Harcourt, 2007). But most people say they believe they would act differently from the participants, despite evidence to the contrary, she said.
For example, Professor Gino said, she and her colleagues asked female job candidates what they would do if inappropriate comments were made in a job interview.
“Most said they would walk away or raise a red flag,” she said. “But in reality, when it happened, they didn’t do that. Across the board, research points to the fact that people want to behave well but give in to temptations.”
Research also shows that it is much easier to step over the boundary from ethical to unethical when there is a gradual erosion of moral values and principles rather than one big leap.
A 2009 article in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, also co-written by Professor Gino, used as an example an accounting firm that has an excellent relationship with a client company. The accounting firm, which receives tens of millions of dollars in fees from the client, approves the company’s high-quality and ethical financial statements.
For three years, everything is fine. But suddenly, in the fourth year, the company stretches and even breaks the limits of the law.
Another case? Same accounting firm, same client. This time, after the first good year, the client bit by bit pushes the ethical envelope over the next three years.
The accounting firm would be more likely to approve the financial statements in the second case than in the first, the article says.
One of the reasons, Professor Gino and her colleague write, is that “unethical acts can become an integral part of the day-to-day activities to such an extent that individuals may be unable to see the inappropriateness of their behaviors.”
Here’s another way we deceive ourselves. Most of us say we admire people who stand up for what’s right (or what is eventually shown to be right), especially when they are strong enough to stick to their guns in the face of strenuous opposition.
But again, research shows that’s not necessarily true. In “When Groups are Wrong and Deviants are Right,” published last year in The European Journal of Social Psychology, Australian academics argue that group members are often hostile to people who buck conformity, even if the members later agree with the dissenter.
Even when, say, a whistle-blower may prove to be correct, she is not always admired or accepted back into the fold, the academics found. Rather, the group may still feel angry that the whistle-blower damaged its cohesion.
Philip G. Zimbardo, professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University and author of numerous books including, “The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil” (Random House, 2007), has spent a lifetime studying moral degradation. In 1971, Professor Zimbardo set up the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment, where the college student “guards” turned sadistic in a very short time, denying food, water and sleep to the student “prisoners,” shooting them with spray from fire extinguishers and stripping them naked.
Professor Zimbardo has classified evil activity in three categories: individual (a few bad apples), situational (a bad barrel of apples) or systemic (bad barrel makers).
“The majority of people can get seduced across the line of good and evil in a very short period of time by a variety of circumstances that they’re usually not aware of — coercion, anonymity, dehumanization,” he said. “We don’t want to accept the notion because it attacks our concept of the dignity of human nature.”
While it may be easy to give up in the face of such discouraging findings, the point, Professor Zimbardo and others say, is to make people conscious of what is known about how and why people are so willing to behave badly — and then use that information to create an environment for good.
Professor Zimbardo, for example, has established the Heroic Imagination Project. Already in some California schools, the project has students watch the Stanford Prison Experiment and similar ones about obedience to authority to teach how individuals can recognize the power of such situations and still act heroically.
He says he hopes to bring his project into the wider world of business and the military.
Although no one thinks it’s an easy task, Professor Zimbardo is not alone in his faith that people can be taught, and even induced, to do the right thing.
“I am a true believer that we can create environments to act ethically,” Professor Gino said. “It just might take a heavier hand.”
A version of this article appeared in print on November 19, 2011, on page B5 of the New York edition with the headline: Doing the Ethical Thing May Be Right, but It Isn’t Automatic.

jueves, 17 de noviembre de 2011

Próxima Reunión de Arte y Etica Viernes 18 de noviembre, 11:30 am Wall Street, Nueva York

Laura Anderson Barbata
in collaboration with the Brooklyn Jumbies

Intervention: Wall Street

November 16, 2011 (New York, NY) – Artist Laura Anderson Barbata, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Jumbies, will present Intervention: Wall Street on Friday, November 18, 2011. The performance will take place on Wall Street in New York City’s Financial District at approximately 12 pm.

Intervention: Wall Street was conceived as a response to the dire economic crisis that became most evident in 2008 which today afflicts not only Americans but has impacted 99% of the global population.  Financial speculation and banking abuses by the largest and most powerful institutions on Wall Street have brought misery to individuals, institutions and to entire countries.   In this public performance, Laura Anderson Barbata and the Brooklyn Jumbies bring to the Financial District of New York a world wide practice to remind viewers of the global impact of this crisis and the urgent need to elevate and change the values and practices of the New York Financial Industry.

On Friday, November 18, 2011, as part of the Moko Jumbies project, Anderson Barbata and the Brooklyn Jumbies will tower over the Financial District in a performance that incorporates stilt dancers wearing 12ft high business suits, music and a collaborative spirit.

In Western Africa, Moko is a spirit who watches over his village, and due to his towering height, is able to foresee danger and evil. In Africa, the Moko Jumbie (stilt dancer) is traditionally called in to cleanse and ward off evil spirits that have brought with them disease and misfortune to a village. On the other side of the Atlantic, in Oaxaca, Mexico, the Zancudos (stilt dancers) perform once a year to call upon the power of their saints to receive protection, blessings, and miracles.  In the same spirit of warding off evil and seeking a change in the mindset of those causing misfortune, Laura Anderson Barbata and the Brooklyn Jumbies will intervene on Wall Street. 
You are cordially invited to join and support the intervention/dance wearing a business suit.

The performance will take place at approximately 12 pm and will last for an estimated 30 minutes. It will begin on Broadway at Bowling Green and will continue uptown to Cedar, across from Zuccotti Park and make its way back through the back streets of the Financial District to Bowling Green and Broadway.
Any additional changes and details will be announced on mx-lab’s Facebook page on Friday November 18th in the morning. 

sábado, 8 de octubre de 2011

8a Reunión Etica y Arte

"Bordar en contra de la guerra"

Domingo 9 de Octubre, 2011

Mañana nos reuniremos con la artista Mónica Castillo quien está realizando ¨Bordar en contra de la Guerra¨,  un proyecto muy importante en el que se conjugan el Arte y la Etica y en el cual vamos a poder participar y aportar para su realización.  Durante la participación de los que asistan, el tema de conversación será en torno a esto mismo.  

Aquí la información: 
¨Bordar en contra de la Guerra¨
El colectivo Fuentes Rojas propone una acción que consiste en bordar un pañuelo con el nombre o descripción de cada uno de los 50 000 muertos de la guerra contra el narco.
El objetivo de este proyecto consiste en proponer un acercamiento simbólico a cada una de las tragedias personales que sólo conocemos como espectáculo a través de los medios de difusión.
¡Los pañuelos se mostrarán en las plazas del país! Puedes sugerirnos otras formas de hacerlos públicos. ¡Sin embargo primero, tenemos que juntar a la mayor cantidad de bordadores para lograr el número propuesto!
Cita: Todos los domingos en la fuente de los coyotes de la plaza de Coyoacán
Hora: 12 del día
¿Qué traer? Nada, solo tiempo para bordar
Espero puedan asistir ya que su presencia y aportación es muy importante.