ATC Lecture -€” Caroline Woolard, “What Is a Work of Art in the Age of $120,000 Art Degrees?”

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Caroline Woolard presented a thought-provoking look at the nature of art and art education in the United States and much of the world. Her presentation explored the evolution of the arts education industry, and the complex ways in which artists navigate the capitalistic system of the art trade, the needs of self-expression, and the tough economic realities that have always faced artists. Woolard showed that more and more aspiring artists are attending increasingly expensive art institutions, creating a feeder system which has changed the infrastructure and underpinnings of the art world.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For all those unable to attend, please check out the video recording of her lecture:

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What are the implications of debt, duration, and precarity on culture in the 21st century? Caroline Woolard presented the first ATC lecture of 2015 with recent findings about the poverty rates, rent burdens, and actual occupations of artists by BFAMFAPhD, as well as the power of solidarity art economy institutions to reproduce artists and art works that embody principles of cooperation and justice. Check out some of the talk’s highlights on Storify, and then our photos via Flickr! A lively Q&A session followed Woolard’s talk, with participants discussing topics such as student debt, desegregation of disciplines, and collaboration among artists.

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thumbnailOften legitimized by its relationship to elite institutions of higher education, a work of art in the United States today is a product of the classroom, the loan repayment, the lecture-hall, and the homework assignment. But before the 1950s, becoming an artist had nothing to do with a BFA or an MFA. As Mark McGurl points out in The Program Era, what is novel about our time is not that it’s hard to make a living as an artist (that has always been the case), but that so many young people go to school, and often to expensive art schools, to try to become artists.

What are the implications of debt, rent, and precarity on culture in the 21st century? This talk presents recent findings about the poverty rates, rent burdens, and actual occupations of artists by BFAMFAPhD, as well as the power of solidarity art economy institutions to reproduce artists and art works that embody principles of cooperation and justice. Outlining the contradictory ways in which artists navigate solidarity economies within capitalism, the talk is an encounter with mutual aid networks, open source software, and community land trusts.

Caroline Woolard graduated from the only tuition-free art school in the United States with a strong commitment to the solidarity economy movement and to conceptual art. After co-founding and co-directing resource sharing networks OurGoods.org and TradeSchool.coop for the past five years, Woolard is focused on BFAMFAPhD.com to raise awareness about the impact of rent, debt, and precarity on culture and on New York City To Be Determined to create and support truly affordable, community land trusts for cultural resilience in New York City.

Tickets are available online and at the door. Ticketed attendees will be admitted on a first come, first served basis.

Berkeley’s Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium is an internationally recognized forum for presenting new ideas that challenge conventional wisdom about art, technology, and culture. This series, free of charge and open to the public, presents artists, writers, curators, and scholars who consider contemporary issues at the intersection of aesthetic expression, emerging technologies, and cultural history, from a critical perspective.

For the first time ever, the 2014/15 lecture series will be co-presented by the Arts Research Center, the Berkeley Center for New Media, and The David Brower Center, and will focus on the legacy of the Free Speech Movement here on the Berkeley Campus. All lectures will take place at The David Brower Center from 7:30-9:00pm.