In conjunction with Pre-Loved Re-Loved - Depot's annual re-sale exhibition - we sat down with prolific NZ artist Judy Darragh for a korero about the upcoming MCH Artist Resale Royalties Scheme.
The trope of the struggling artist is not a new one, but a multitude of recent factors – from the rising cost of living to cancelled exhibitions – have renewed focus on the value and sustainability of the arts in wider society. The pressure of the pandemic has regrettably driven some artists out of the industry, but it has also triggered conversations which can sometimes feel as if stuck on a loop. How do we break out of the echo chamber?
Those outside of the arts can be forgiven for thinking the industry is booming right now, with secondary sales records featuring regularly on the evening news, and little representation of the realities of the average creator; independent creatives are teaching one another how to apply for recovery grants, ever-increasing rents are seeing artists out of studio space, and some are even calling for a universal living wage for all artists in Aotearoa.
This time has brought the financialisation of art to the top of the agenda, with the NFT debate gaining more proponents and resale royalties being advocated to central government for a third time. Mentor-programmes and fresh ARI’s are popping up across Tāmaki Makaurau to address the growing need for community resilience. The stigmatisation of money talk in art networks may finally be wearing away with renewed recognition of the workings of privilege, in a sector previously known as a meritocracy.
But how do we reach beyond the echo chamber, and convince others of the need to support the arts? Does the average person have any obligation to do so, especially if they have been historically underserved by art institutions? In a post-capitalist world where individualism triumphs over collective action, can we even agree on a course forwards?
Join us for a zoom panel in which chair Richard Orjis speaks to a number of practicing artists and arts professionals in Aotearoa.