Take the Money and Run: Power, Money and Counter-Power

A film of this event by Claire Nolan and a written response by Lewis Church can be found here.

 

“They get a lot of stick for the Exxon Valdez oil spill, but then they sponsor a prize for animal photos and you think ‘mm, maybe it’s time to take a fresh look at Shell,’” cried Alan Partridge in delight at news of Shell’s sponsorship of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

The light recently shone on the sources of money that supports arts organisations – from fossil fuels to deadly pharmaceuticals – has illuminated some corners of the ‘hidden abode of production” (Marx) to valuable effect.

Taking a moment to reflect upon some real successes achieved by campaigns such as Liberate Tate, we invite artists, activists, curators, producers, researchers and anyone engaged with these issues to share ideas about how we might build for future struggles to free art and artists from their dependency on the proceeds of toxic capitalism. What might a politically and environmentally responsible approach to money in the arts look like today and tomorrow?

The power of capital to “cover” its tracks has increased with the financialization of everyday life: derivates, dark pools, and privatized debt hide networks of corruption and money laundering the world over. In parallel, the power of arts organisations to rehabilitate these agents of disaster capitalism through little and big acts of ‘arts washing’ has also increased and come under sustained criticism and sporadic disruption in the radical organizing of arts activists. In these globalized contexts of power and corruption, who is able today to ‘take the money and run’?

With contributions from Jess Worth of Culture Unstained, Jane Trowell of Platform, Elona Hoover of The Common House, Natasha Nkonde of Edge Fund and Morgan Quaintance.

This public conversation builds on Take the Money and Run, a 2015 event on ethics, funding and art organised by LADA, Artsadmin and Home Live Art as part of their Catalyst-supported research into ethical fundraising, and produced in collaboration with Platform.

This is the third in a series of Gatherings around the topic of ‘Managing the Radical’ (MtR) organised in part by the MtR Action Research Group in collaboration with LADA’s Restock, Rethink, Reflect Five project on Managing the Radical.

Take the Money and Run: Power, Money and Counter-Power is supported through Catalyst and the Collaborations Fund of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary University of London.

 

Banner image credit:

Liberate Tate, Sunflower (detail), 2010, Photo: Jeffrey Blackler

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