April 1993 to February 1994

Conditions and relations of project-oriented artistic practices. The findings of a working group and an exhibition.

Exhibition: Video tapes of the meetings of the working groups and material documenting projects, exhibitions, and organisations which have re-defined the relation of artists and institutions, 1969 to the present.

Participants in the working group: Judith Barry (New York), Ute-Meta Bauer (Stuttgart). Ulrich Bischoff (Dresden), Ywona Blazwick (London). Büro Bert (Düsseldorf). Susan Cahan (New York). Clegg & Guttmann (New York, Florence), Stefan Dillemuth (Cologne), Helmut Draxler (Munich), Andrea Fraser (New York). Renee Green (New York, Berlin), Christian Philipp Müller (New York), Fritz Rahmann (Berlin). Fred Wilson (New York)

The starting point for the project »Services« is the strict differentiation between artistic work which is project-oriented and that which is product-oriented. While the manufacture of artistic products is firmly embedded in the system made up of galleries, critics, collectors, exhibition spaces and museums, even during times of crisis, the organisational guidelines for artistic projects are completely unclear, even after more than twenty years of success, and each individual situation is left up to open agreement. lt is typical of curators’ texts, for example, that artists who make do with a small fee or even none at all, or artists who accept bad working conditions etc, are portrayed as being particularly committed.

The situation regarding the interpretation of project-oriented practices is not much better. Important exploratory terms from the 70s do exist, such as »Post Studio Practice«, »Site Specificity« and »Jnstitutional Critique«, however all of these terms neglect the direct practical reference to the institutional conditions. If we use the word »service«, this means that artists are taking over curatorial or institutional functions (influencing, mounting and installing exhibitions, designing catalogues, performing didactic and publicity-related tasks etc). Every fee implies a service. The same applies for contracts, however these are from the outset (as restoration or resale contracts) still directly bound up with an object or objects.

Closely related to the question of organisational guidelines for project-oriented work is the development of alternative structures for artists’ organizations or unions, as well as for independent exhibition spaces run mainly by artists.

The participants in the working group (artists and curators) will report on their experiences in these areas and will discuss the implications of these findings in terms of content, structure and politics. Background material from the 60s onwards will be collected for the exhibition, including contracts, agreements, correspondence, records and artistic concepts. The exhibition will contain only material which can be readily copied (duplicates. slides, videos). lt aims to remain transportable, easily transferrable to other locations, and also hopes to stimulate further discussion and offer a high level of practical value to exhibition visitors.

Organisation: Andrea Fraser and Helmut Draxler

Publikation: Beatrice von Bismarck, Diethelm Stoller und Ulf Wuggenig (Hg.): Games, Fights, Collaborations. The Game of Boundary Transgression; Art and Cultural Studies in the 1990s. Ostfildern-Ruit bei Stuttgart: Cantz, 1996.

Sponsored by the Stiftung Niedersachsen, Hannover