Monday 18 May 2015

Be there | Workshop :: Why are artists poor and what can they do about it?

Monday, May 18th, 2015 - A workshop organised by Hans Abbing and Georgios Papadopoulos and accomodated in the project Space of Athens School of Fine Arts (13, Notara Street  & Tositsa Rd, Exarcheia 10683, Athens, Greece) on the 4th trhough 7 of June 2015, aims to introduce basic economic concepts as well as possible strategies in the contemporary art market. The workshop is intended to help demystify economic discourse and provide theoretical tools for making sense of the position of the artist in the contemporary socio-economic context. We will address questions on the relations between market price and artistic value, the identity of the artist as a worker and as an entrepreneur, funding, cultural policies and the role of art institutions, as well as the possibility of re-appropriation of economic concepts, terminologies and icons for an expanded artistic practice. The workshop is combined with a series of open lectures by Angela Dimitrakaki, Miltos Gkouzouris and the two organizers.

Hans Abbing writes on the economy of the arts and his books include Why are artists poor?, University of Amsterdam Press, 2002 and Value of Art: A Sociological Study of Art and the Arts-Economy, University of Amsterdam Press, 2012. He is Professor Emeritus of Sociology of Art at the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, and in the Cultural Studies Department at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

Many artists, few rewards. The average artist has a low income, is little recognized and has little voice. Most likely after some preliminary enthusiastic years also his work satisfaction is likely to go down. This phenomenon exists already for many decades. The economist has a hard time explaining it. He would expect fewer youngsters to become artist and more artists to leave the profession, with as a consequence that after a while the number of artists would go down, while rewards would become higher. This is not what happens. The sociologist is better equipped to explain the “willingness” of artists to work for low incomes. It is an inclination and not a matter of choice, an inclination which is part of a persistent art ethos, which nowadays works against the majority of artists.

Georgios Papadopoulos combines economics and philosophical analysis with an exploratory artistic practice. His research gravitates around money and its socioeconomic functions. Between 2008 and 2009 he was Researcher at the Theory Department of the Jan Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht and in 2012 he received the Vilém Flusser Award for Artistic Research by the transmediale festival and the University of the Arts (UdK) in Berlin. He has published Notes Towards A Critique of Money, 2011 and Grexit, 2012.
Art against the Economy. The recent financial crisis only encouraged artists in their attacks against capitalism, offering an obvious subject for artistic interventions and drawing them towards economic discourse. My presentation will try to address two elementary questions; in what capacity can art provide a different, maybe even better, point of critique of the market than say politics or science. And up to what extend the criticality of artists against the economy has helped them to mobilize and improve their own conditions of work.

Angela Dimitrakaki is a writer and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Edinburgh. Her books include Art and Globalisation (2013, in Greek), Gender, ArtWork and the Global Imperative (2013) and the co-edited volumes ECONOMY: Art, Production and the Subject in the 21st Century (2015) and Politics in a Glass Case: Feminism, Exhibition Cultures and Curatorial Transgressions (2013). She is Corrsponding Editor of the journal hm: research in critical Marxist theory and, since 2015, an Editor of Third Text.

THE ARTIST IN SOCIAL REPRODUCTION. Beginning with the findings of the curatorial research programme ECONOMY (Scotland 2013,, this paper will discuss the transition from the aura of the artwork to the aura of participation. This transition corresponds to a transformation of the role of the artist as encountered in the emergence of industrialisation and modern art in the 19th century to the artist’s role as renegotiated in the hegemony of ‘total production’ associated with globalisation at the end of the 20th century. The analysis will prioritise the relationship between art, production and reproduction as essential to understanding the positioning of the artist in a contemporary socio-economic context.

Miltiadis Gkouzouris is Cost Engineer and General Director of COSTWISE, a consulting firm located in Athens Greece, which is specialized in costing services ( He holds an MBA degree from Nottingham Trent University and has conducted studies on a Bachelor-level, in “Business Administration” and “Communication & Journalism”, both at educational institutions in The Netherlands.
The presentation “Costing Art” is going to discuss the question of cost in artistic production, detailing the several aspects of cost and their relation to pricing. The questions of pricing and costing are central in the art market and their understanding is a prerequisite for a successful professional career. The presentation is going to address different aspects of costing, including methods, classifications of cost, depreciation, costing of various material and resources and will conclude with the calculation of cost through some practical examples.

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