Artquest Pamphlets


six artists write bold essays

A collection of essays in which artists express their views on the art world with complete freedom.

Trusting colleagues with some of your more incendiary opinions can feel like a dangerous thing: in a world built on reputations, a career might take a decade to build but a moment to ruin.

The art world is awash with opinion, speculation and dissent shared between small, often tiny, networks of individuals, providing shelter to individuals but cutting them off from like-minded colleagues and reducing opportunities for advocacy and debate. In an age when the art world is facing multiple and serious financial and cultural threats, it feels more urgent than ever to find the courage to polemicise and problematise in the open, and agree on the problems, if not the solutions.

In the summer of 2013, we asked six artists and arts professionals to write bold essays about their experience of the art world. This resulting publication provides a constructive vent to some of the pent-up frustration, disagreement, and just plain anger that artists and arts professionals feel with the machinations of the art world and its relationship with the rest of reality. Following art world protocol all contributions are anonymous so as not to distract from the opinions and suggestions they contain: instead, we intend for the essays to provoke debate amongst you and your peers.

Essays explore how money travels through the arts, how political impetus in practice has faded, how our Government sees us, how the daily grind can impact on emotional health, and how we might even be our own worst enemies.

This publication aims to provoke and rally, to point out some inconsistencies, and to provide a platform for some of the discussions artists are having. The artists we asked to write were given free rein – so some of what follows we agree with, some we don’t.

Artists live in an imperfect world, but at least can talk about it constructively and find common places to start to change it for the better. We hope you’ll join in.

Visit the Artquest website to buy your copy of Pamphlets for £5 plus £2 postage; and download two sample essays:

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