Full of Eastern Promise

December 11th, 2012 | Posted by admin in art | discussion | notice | research - (6 Comments)

We’ve been quiet for a while because our official first programme of events and projects has ended, but we’re now thinking about what to do next. In January/February 2013 we’ll be publishing our first policy document, gathering some of our conclusions about what we’ve discovered over the past two years and sharing information we think all professional artists need to know, what best practice might look like in an ideal world, and who are the wrong ‘uns to always avoid (and why).

Two related possibilities are firstly the expansion of the group to include more professional East Anglian artists in the very successful learning, career development and peer support activities we’ve been doing on a small scale; secondly to facilitate mentoring by and for artists, not just on day-to-day career matters but on ethical, economic and personal matters (e.g. the gender pay gap, or managing a career as an artist when you have children) similar to some of the issues we’ve covered on this blog and at our live events. We know already that many artists are grappling with these issues on their own. We’d also like to bring artists together to address some of the failures, omissions and mis-steps of institutions in the region with regard to artist support. We already have some horror stories of our own– mentors who did it in a spirit of ego and competition instead of a spirit of generosity, so-called “experts” who provided totally basic (and sometimes wrong) information as if it was a great revelation, advisers who didn’t even bother to find out basic information about the person they were meant to be helping, lazy old handouts or Powerpoints about general matters, artist groups that are all talk and no action, and so on. We want to do this right, so help us by sharing how you think it should be done.

Some background information and research material:



Case studies from the Cultural Leadership Programme, including our Julie:

Julie Freeman

Helen Carnac

Members of Market Project will be discussing possibilities and experiences with mentoring and artist groups here, but everyone with an interest is encouraged to comment and contribute especially if you’re an artist who’d like to become part of an artist-led support network, or if you’d like to learn from or mentor other arts professionals. What knowledge or contacts do you think you need but don’t know how to get? If you’ve been mentored, critiqued or been critiqued, or worked with a group of artists or studio group, what were the good things about those things and what were the things you thought were wrong?

The term Emerging Artist……

September 4th, 2012 | Posted by Annabelle in art - (2 Comments)


 I have pondered and wondered about this term for years and i have come to the conclusion that I am …


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?


What is the Ludlow Open?

June 14th, 2012 | Posted by Alistair in discussion | exhibition - (5 Comments)

Quite closely related to the subject of the previous post, a discussion involving myself and our Julie (among others) on the still rather opaque process of applying for and perhaps being selected for one of the numerous and rapidly proliferating Open Competitions, some of which are actually open, some of which seem to just be the economic equivalent of black holes; money goes in, little or nothing ever comes out again.


Keeping the Faith

June 6th, 2012 | Posted by david kefford in art | discussion | interview | research - (3 Comments)

Nayland Blake’s response to a friends apparent loss of (art) faith is poignant, clear, direct and well worth reading:

hi Nayland, I hope you’re enjoying your travels. Can you answer me this? How do I keep the faith when everyone tells me my work is great and yet I can’t land a NY gallery? I know it’s the worst time in history, but it’s been years..(and my Boston gallery just closed) I met with my buddy J the other day and told her that my Armory experience left me thinking that the “art” of art these days lies in the facade that hides that fact that all art is a spectacle. The armory show just felt like a wave of junk for rich people and that all the art lost the importance of effecting cultural change or critically examining it. There just didn’t seem to be any impact, or discussion, or reflection.. I’m really losing it.

Take care,


Read his response here

The next intellectual property battleground: pirate objects

June 3rd, 2012 | Posted by admin in discussion - (Comments Off)

We’re not far away from technology that could potentially be used to copy and produce indefinitely long runs of physical objects, including “unique” sculptures that could be replicated in the same materials as the original. Current technologies are already producing replacements for human bones and libraries of freely available user-generated objects, taking advantage of the fact that 3D printers are becoming increasingly available as commercial services and as domestic items.

The short article linked below explores one person’s early skirmish with the extremely zealous IP enforcement already being carried out by powerful business interests regarding the unauthorised copying of objects, in this case a fan making his own parts for a game:

“Observers predict that in a few years we’ll see printers that integrate scanning capability — so your kid can toss in a Warhammer figurine, hit Copy, and get a new one. The machine will become a photocopier of stuff.

This has all the makings of an epic and surreal legal battle. You thought Hollywood and record labels were powerful lobbyists, crushing Napster and suing file-sharers? Wait until you see what the manufacturing industry can do. The American Chamber of Commerce is the single largest lobbyist on Capitol Hill, spending $60 million a year.”


Market Project, Aid & Abet at the next a-n AIRTIME event

May 11th, 2012 | Posted by admin in art | event | notice - (Comments Off)

Members of Market Project will be at a-n’s latest AIRTIME networking and advice session, which takes place at Aid & Abet in Cambridge on Thursday 17th May, 3-5pm. Come and say hello, ask us about working as an artist-led research group over the past two years and our plans for the next two, our careers as professional artists, our dealings with the art world, why flaccid genitalia or brown paintings are commercial suicide, or anything else that’s on your mind. Free to a-n subscribers, but you need to book a place.


Do Artists have to be horrible?

April 15th, 2012 | Posted by Annabel in art - (Comments Off)

It was Eadweard Muybridge’s birthday last week. I love his photographs but I am less keen on the myth of the man. He murdered his wife’s lover and then abandoned his son.

I am not a Christian but I still try, when I’m not being lazy or a bitch to remember Matthew’s advice:

‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you’

In the spirit of Matthew I will be telling some artists off.

This is inspired by seeing Gillian Wearing’s film ‘Self Made’ at it’s premier in the Cornerhouse, Manchester:

I like a lot of Gillian Wearing’s work but at the viewing of her debut show of ‘Self Made’ I had to ask her questions in the Q&A.

I had just watched the film where a group of specifically working class men and women from the North East of England had been accepted on an experiment after the unspecified position had been advertised in a local paper. These people underwent a series of intensely emotional ‘exercises’ where they were asked to focus on their biggest fears, most traumatic memories and the connect with the aching pit of loneliness that I guess may inhabit us all and through these exercises began to feel consumed by. Some people understandably dropped out of the experiment when faced with this overwhelming panoply of emotions. One poor man at the centre of the drama continues, perhaps as one does with a truly awful film, to continue to the end, in the hope of some resolution or transformation. This man is then ‘trained’ by the drama teacher to kick a pig’s carcass and imagine it is a person. The final scene of the film shows him simulating kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach (his greatest fear) perhaps in the drama teacher’s deranged attempt to get him to express his inner mortido. (more…)

Sarah Thornton: What is an artist?

March 26th, 2012 | Posted by admin in art | research - (Comments Off)

Sarah Thornton (contemporary art writer for The Economist, and author of Seven Days in the Art World):

“The other day, I asked a smart senior curator for whom I have a lot of respect, “What is an artist?” She said that she wasn’t interested in the question and implied that it was dim of me to ask. Indeed, many art-world insiders refuse to consider the issue. They assert that living artists are so unique that it is impossible to generalize about them so it would be misguided—not to mention disrespectful—to pin them down with a definition. When art-worlders answer the question, their most common response is suspiciously closed. “An artist is someone who makes art,” they say. “But what is art?” we ask. “It is made by an artist,” they reply. This circular reasoning is meant to throw us off the scent. It implies a fruitless line of inquiry. Paradoxes are supposed to be sexy, but this one offers little more than a redundant loop that forecloses exploration.

Other responses to the question also tend to obfuscate. For example, several curator friends have told me, “An artist is someone who has no choice but to make art.” This suggests that being an artist is akin to being gay. Whether it’s the result of nature or nurture or both, individual artists—or at least “real” ones—are not responsible for their path in life.”

Read the rest at Canadian Art magazine:


“A work of art is a gift, not a commodity”

March 6th, 2012 | Posted by Alistair in art | books - (Comments Off)

Some recent discussion at Market Project regarding Lewis Hyde’s book ‘The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World‘ – which involved in part me trying to summarise what it was about from a rather distant memory of having read it a while back- inspired me to have another look at it to check that I hadn’t been misrepresenting the contents and intent of it. It’s been around since the late 1970s, although I’m referring here to the revived/revised version published by Canongate in 2006 (which is still a bit hippy-ish, naïve and dated in places, predating as it does even the flourishing of Thatcherite and Reaganite politics in the 1980s). Generally speaking I would still recommend it as an inspiring read, although it’s undoubtedly more interesting to me in the first half where it’s primarily ethnographic, economic and folkloristic.

The book’s second half is pretty much skippable, in my view. Hyde just repeats himself and seems to enjoy chasing his tail during extremely lengthy and not very interesting detours into Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound. This is where Hyde betrays himself as a tenured academic, because this section is like a fairly boring mandatory module in an American Literature course, taught by somebody who doesn’t really care or is oblivious to the fact that you hate Whitman and Pound. I wouldn’t be surprised if these parts were recycled from somewhere else, actually.

Other than the previous paragraph’s attempt to save your time and energy if you pick up the book, the rest of this is not a very coherent argument from me or anything, just a few quotes I pulled out that seem relevant to the present time and to this project. Everything from this point onwards is quoted from Hyde.

“… a work of art is a gift, not a commodity. Or, to state the modern case with more precision… works of art exist simultanously in two ‘economies,’ a market economy and a gift economy. Only one of these is essential, however: a work of art can survive without the market, but where there is no gift there is no art.”

“We rightly speak of ‘talent’ as a ‘gift,’ for although a talent can be perfected through an effort of will, no effort in the world can cause its initial appearance. Mozart, composing on the harpsichord at the age of four, had a gift.” (more…)