Neil Cummings: artist and professor at Chelsea
Political economies of art
Moved away for autonomous objects as art..
Moved into spaces that produce the space and are encountered in Banks art schools department stores in-spaces where artwork in institutions desolves into world like social media gift shop, funding political implications like regeneration and well being. Institutional networks. These are his materials. Working within institutional criting
Tate Modern commission and its opening to think about how it would fit into its new environment. Realising that exhibition is just a slither of Tate’s activities. It could be considered that maybe the Tate functions like commercial bank? Looked at links between Tate and Bank if England. Was stunned by the function of the Bank of England. It is the last port of call in desperate debt. It raises and lowers the cost of debt. In 1694 Bank of England was founded on a debt. I,t was set up to bail out the government that has never been paid back. It runs in the promise to pay. There is no gold. Symbolic structure.
The Tate was founded on a gift. A gift is an anthropological structure but still symbolic.
To commemorate this a Limited edition print that was given away by people who worked in the Bank of England to random visitors in the Tate. Became quite powerful moment between the givers and the receivers. It demonstrated that gift is a powerful social structure and demonstrates a powerful new future model. “The enthusiast to capital as the gift to commodity”
Frieze art fair 2006 growth began to build a new powerful art market. Collectors would come to students degree shows to special breakfasts. Power and influence was growing. Questions grew. What is this art market? Started research: two markets for art. The primary market, dominated by commercial galleries working with artists, building a market. Galleries assume the risk for artists. Trying to place artwork in places like the Tate. Artist gets a percentage. But the elephant in the room is the second market, the auction house market which dwarfs the primary market. Sotherby’s etc. Primary market hates the secondary market. No money goes back to the primary source. Cummings and Lewandowska launched an artist in residency at Sotherby’s to launch and make a film over a year, that would then be auctioned. But the artists had no market presence so no one would buy. Selling a film at auction was nuts..
This model of priceless artworks, removed from circulation by purchasers alongside the artworks in institutions proposed by Ruskin in the 18800’s was now truly coining into
Moderna Museum Sweden 2007
Celebrating 50th anniversary.
Did same thing as at the Tate, but it was a really sad experience as they were celebrating all they had done all they had done 20 years ago in the 60’s. So asked imaging it’s your centenary, what would you do, they were universally hopeless! So started series of informal interviews to think about these things. Interviews everyone. From directors to cafe staff. They wanted to be like Tate but no one imagined anything different accept technology. They didn’t imagine a different culture or climate. Began to imagine a different culture/future for them. Began building timelines, complicated and visually exciting.
Timelines found a form at Arnofini Galley 2011 50th anniversary. Fed the time lines through the stair well. Beautiful shapes as nano narrative. Different time lines interlocking.
Proposal that the future is a strange ecology. A time line like a map to help us navigate as yet known territories. Creative institutions need scenario building that is aspirational. Cultural institutions live in very shallow spaces. Possibly with a lack of ambition. They are scrabbling round trying to find money for the next projects so to think 50 years ahead is very hard. We are living in very urgent times... It is easier to imagine our own extinction than the collapse of capitalism. We can now see the scenario of our own extinction. So we need to engage more effectively in the present!
Do we have to have a big disaster to effect a big enough change?