I received an email from Anne, whom I didn’t know at the time, while I was at Heathrow, on my way to Istanbul, just before Christmas 2011: whether I’d be interested in copy-editing texts for a book on self-organisation in art, and, if so, could I supply a quote. A couple of days later, after an aborted Istanbul stay due to a sprained ankle, I sent her my estimate. Three months later she emailed me that she and her partner in crime, Stine Hebert, had raised the money to actually go ahead with the book and that texts would be coming my way shortly.
For those interested in curating and organisational structures in the visual arts, and alternative approaches to running and managing projects, institutions and organisations, it’s a very good read, and, like other books in the Open Editions series, will no doubt shortly start featuring in syllabi for courses on curating and arts administration.
For me it was a wonderful project to work on: Anne and Stine gave me pretty much free reign to work on the texts as I saw fit, which was not only enjoyable but also very rewarding. Some of the texts have given me food for thought, which I’ve in turn used in some of my teaching.
Further info on Self-Organised:
The current economic situation and society’s low confidence in its institutions has suddenly demanded that artists become more imaginative in the way that they organise themselves. If labels such as ‘alternative’, ‘non-profit’ and ‘artist-run’ dominated the self-organised art scene that emerged in the late 1990s, the separatist position implied by the use of these terms has been moderated during the intervening years. This new anthology of accounts from the front line includes contributions by artists, as well as their institutional counterparts, that provide a fascinating observation of the art world as matrix of interconnected positions where the balance of power and productivity constantly shifts.
With contributions by Julie Ault, Maibritt Borgen, Céline Condorelli & Johan Frederik Hartle, Anthony Davies, Stephan Dillemuth & Jakob Jakobsen, Ekaterina Degot, Charles Esche & David Riff, Barnaby Drabble, Jonas Ekeberg, Linus Elmes, Juan A Gaitán, Abdellah Karroum, Livia Pancu, Jan Verwoert, What, How & For Whom/WHW. Designed by Jonathan Hares.