Sluice 2012, 22-24 October

October 18th, 2012 | Posted by admin in art | books | event | exhibition | gallery | notice | slideshow - (Comments Off)

Exhibition of works for sale in a silent, blind and anonymous auction; these have been donated by over fifty artists (including Market Project’s Annabel Dover and Alistair Gentry) to contribute to the return of the artist-led and artist-centred Sluice Art Fair in 2013. Alistair was on Sluice Art Fair’s discussion panel in 2011, with his Market Project hat on. Our David’s Aid & Abet is also involved, as is our former guest Cathy Lomax’s Transition Gallery.

See the work Monday 22 October- Wednesday 24 October, 12-6 daily. Then come to the book launch and reception at Hanmi Gallery, 30 Maple Street, London W1T 6HA from 6-9pm on Wednesday 24th to see who has been lucky enough to walk away with the work they bid for.

PS: Hanmi has a sister gallery in Seoul, which is in fact Gangnam Style.

Disrupting the gallery

September 5th, 2012 | Posted by Alistair in art - (Comments Off)

 A very interesting (and funny) update from Charlie Gates, a former client of Debut Contemporary who previously chipped in on the DC post that went viral possibly because of, rather than in spite of, various sock puppets, stooges and fellow travellers of theirs trying to shut down the debate and blacken our names behind our backs. Unusually for a story that involves art world rip offs, camping out at reception with a stonewalling “gallery maid” (LOL), and a decomposing fox in a suitcase, there’s even a (sort of) happy ending. Well done, Charlie.

DC and their cronies seem to love throwing the word “slander” about, even though they apparently don’t know what it means. This was also brought up on our site, so I’m really glad that Gates patiently schooled them on what slander actually is. In written form it’s libel, anyway. In any case, as Gates points out, in the general world of grown up common sense and by law in most countries (including the laws of the British Isles), it is generally not considered slander or libel to express a sincerely held opinion based upon one’s own experiences, knowledge, or understanding. It’s only slander or libel when one knowingly and maliciously spreads falsehoods. Like, you know, sending sneaky emails to other people that an artist works with. Or publicly calling an artist a liar when they have proof of what they’re saying.

Knowingly spreading the truth is… a lot of things. Honourable. Just. Admirable. Certainly not a crime, not slander,  not “spreading rumours” (another of DC’s code words for fair criticism or dissent), and certainly not something that anybody has a right to stifle.

Zeitgeist Open: deadline 24th September

September 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Alistair in art | exhibition - (2 Comments)

Just a wee reminder that me and our David are two of the judges of an art prize that aims to practice what we preach: artist-centred, artist-led and judged by fellow artists, fairly priced (and where the money goes is clearly stated), with a transparent selection process (no “pre-selection”. i.e. unlike many art prizes and competitions you don’t pay your fee only to not even get your work seen by the judges) and clear explanations of what to expect, whether you are selected or not. Deadline for entries is 24th September 2012.

The ephemeral museum

July 23rd, 2012 | Posted by admin in art | discussion | exhibition | gallery | press - (Comments Off)

Ostensibly a review of the new Tate Modern Tanks for exhibiting live and time-based art, Laura Cumming also makes some interesting observations about some of the implications and questions that arise from it. Of course we’ve covered this subject previously in posts on this site and at our public Collecting the Uncollectable discussion last year.


July 23rd, 2012 | Posted by admin in art | exhibition - (1 Comments)

Dare we suggest that Market Project’s activities and discussions may have been an influence on the subject matter of Jasper Joffe’s next show, Economics?

“Chateau Joffe presents a series of paintings about economics: offices, Chinese and US factories, slaves, labour, bankers, mortgages and derivatives. All the work originates from the world image bank of Flickr. Joffe constructs a visual vocabulary of the abstract terms which are used in discussing the economy. An email discussion between artists, collectors, and economists will be published to mark the opening of Economics.”

The “privatised view” is on the 9th August in Shoreditch, details from Joffe.

The open Open

July 18th, 2012 | Posted by Alistair in art | exhibition - (2 Comments)

We’ve talked a lot here on the site and in the real world with artists and arts professionals about competitions, pay-to-play “opportunities” and so on. Now myself and our David have agreed to be selectors for the Zeitgeist Open 2012 in the hope of showing there’s a way to run these things fairly, ethically, without ripping anybody off or profiteering, and keeping artists where they should be in the arts– at the centre. In brief (from the ZAP site):

  1. There will be no pre-selection, all works will be seen by all the judges
  2. The work received will remain anonymous throughout the judging process
  3. Our judges are artists, not art oligarchs or celebrities
  4. ZAP values all the artists we work with and continues to build relationships with them during and after shows
  5. At least 10 artists from The Zeitgeist Open will be selected for our next ZAP group exhibition: Discernible in Spring 2013
  6. The ZAP philiosophy is about: Creating opportunities for ambitious artists, creating new networks and bringing new audiences – curators, gallerists, collectors, the general public – to artists
  7. Submission fees have been kept to an absolute minimum – £15 or £12 for ZAP / DIY Educate Members – to make it accessible as possible.

But what’s really worth checking out, I think– even if you don’t intend to enter– is the statements and application materials you can download from the same page I just linked to (or below). David and I have consulted on and contributed to these documents, and I think they do a great job of doing what every fair, symmetrical transaction between commissioner/gallery/selector and artist should be: laying out what everyone on both sides has the right to expect, to get or not get. The selectors will be getting a small fee and travel expenses for a day of work on selecting the submissions. Instead of making ourselves scarce like your traditional gatekeepers, we’ll also be attending the opening of the exhibition in the autumn so you can talk to us directly about what we selected, what we didn’t, and why.

Art competitions and open submission calls can be genuine opportunities that help artists. They don’t have to be dodgy.


The ICA in BMW’s pocket: Art Drivel

July 18th, 2012 | Posted by Alistair in art | event | exhibition - (Comments Off)

Published today: an article I wrote about the ICA’s total capitulation to business interests and the advertising industry, as evidenced by their nauseatingly fulsome support of BMW’s Art Drive! (their exclamation; it’s certainly not mine) exhibition of Art Cars! in a trendy urban Car Park! in London’s trendy urban Shoreditch! Cars? Yes. Art? No. I initially got the letters jumbled and typed “crap ark”, which is probably closer to the truth.

As I say in the article, I’m trying really hard to think of something that has less to do with art than a collaboration between BMW’s publicity department, the ICA, LOCOG, the Mayor of London’s office, and some Nathan Barleys who claim to be ‘intervening at an urban scale to re-imagine life in the city’.

Anyway, please read the article. It’s good, even though some excellent insults relating to Jeff Koons and Ekow Eshun were cut out. Something to do with libel, probably. (Shrug).


You Me Trust Fund Train

July 13th, 2012 | Posted by admin in discussion | event | press - (Comments Off)

From this article about a theatre company’s productions involving tickets costing £20, one audience member at a time, hundreds of performers and no pay whatsoever for any of them:

… a great quote by Samuel West:

“The idea of having one audience member at a time can be terribly exciting for both audience and performers, and by its nature won’t earn much from the box office. But no matter how good the artistic results, I can’t support a working model where actors aren’t paid at all. Otherwise the only people who can afford to be in those shows are those who have other jobs or savings or private incomes – and that alters the demographic of actors you can use, and eventually the demographic of the profession.”

He’s right, and the same goes for any art form. Equity are considering court action.

PS: The article does mention that the company had support from the Barbican, but doesn’t even allude to the fact that they also had about £40,000 cash in hand for the show in question from the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Award (details of the award here, proof here). This makes their protestations that they don’t make a bean from doing the show ring a bit hollow.


In light of the massive (but tasty) can of worms opened by this post about Debut Contemporary, I thought I would remind people that the provision of paid services by any company in England is covered by English law. London, where many British artist-related organisations are based, is in England by the way.  Duh, you might say in both cases, of course it is.

My point is that having read or heard some of the recent accounts about the appalling way artists are treated by various organisations to whom they have paid a fee for services, one might like to devote special attention to aspects of English law such as those pertaining to misleading action, deliberate omissions, aggressive sales, etc:

And the law pertaining to invoices for payment that are mysteriously much higher than expected, “cowboy” services, charlatanry in general, and so forth:

Artists can also find legal information relating specifically to their profession and arts services at and Obviously neither this quick post, nor any of the other resources linked here are any substitute for common sense and keeping your wits about you, or for consulting a proper legal representative where necessary. But knowledge is power and you are certainly not powerless in the face of bad practice if you know your rights and assert them fearlessly. If you’re paying for a service, you are a customer. It doesn’t matter if you or somebody else calls it mentoring, a residency, or whatever. If you’re paying, you’re the customer and you have a customer’s rights. The rest of the UK, Europe, the USA and most other developed countries have very similar systems of legal redress for customers wronged by service providers. Wherever you are, I suggest that you start using them.

Thanks to one of our ever-growing digital scrapheap of tip offs about horrifying art world practices- seriously, we are collating all of these and someday we’re going to publish the ultimate directory of art world wrong ‘uns- I am not at all proud and indeed somewhat disgusted to introduce the SUPER-CONNECTED, GLOSSY-MAGAZINE-HAUNTING, RELENTLESSLY SELF-PUBLICISING, CAPS LOCK-LOVING SAMIR CERIC AND ZOE KNIGHT, AND THEIR DEBUT CONTEMPORARY:

I know we should play the ball and not the player, hate the sin and love the sinner, hate the game and not the playa, etc… but seriously, what the hell? This picture- and the fact that it’s one of the first things you see on their site, a site that’s supposed to be about developing the careers of artists, and the fact there’s pages and pages of other images of them and their press clippings here- certainly tells me a lot about them.

But instead of speculating about the creative possibilities of shop dummy wigs, plastic surgery, Photoshop and still choosing all your own clothes even though you’re red/green colourblind, or even asking “Debut Contemporary what?“, let’s hear from the “TOP TASTEMAKERS” themselves. Note that the blaring, almost unreadable ALL CAPS FORMAT, clumsy English and grammatical errors are in the original text:


I wonder which one of them is the wolf, and which is the badger?