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Issue 17

No Money No Problem

10.02.2020 - 27.04.2020

We have arrived at the end of the second decade of the millennium, over the course of which the system of contemporary art continued its global boom and expansion parallel to that of neoliberalism. Out of the proliferation of art fairs, biennials, museums, galleries as well as self-directed spaces aspiring to gain autonomy from such institutions, a dialogue of unprecedented breadth has emerged, made possible in large part by the explosion of the Internet and social media. While the democratization of knowledge has benefitted the artistic trade, the consolidation of a system whose supporting structure—caught between the local and the global—perpetuates, feeds, and fortifies the capitalist logic of exploitation, abuse, and profit, has not been averted.

However, we have glimpsed other possibilities. As a large portion of the global population continues to live without money, arts communities have become accustomed to creating without any kind of long-term support, whether it be institutional or market-driven. An alternative system of art has grown alongside blue-chip galleries and fairs; artists show, design, write, and build in order to ensure and vindicate their autonomy. In spite of the fact that many work within the cultural field, they don’t necessarily create objects that are for sale, nor do the structures they organize attempt to institutionalize according to the parameters of contemporary art. What to expect then about art and culture?

In order to reflect critically on the models and structures that articulate the economies of contemporary art, in this issue of Terremoto we ask ourselves: on whom and on what do we depend? How can we support each other? How can we navigate on a daily basis between the emancipation promised by art and the alienation that working in any system entails? Understanding economy in its literal etymological sense, “household management,” we will think about our artistic and intellectual practice as the house where we meet and embrace each other in order to explore our modes of social interaction, which oscillate constantly between competition and solidarity. We will problematize the contradictions that bring us together through the production, distribution, and consumption of our work, inside as much as outside the system of contemporary art framed by neoliberalism. And we will try to understand the meaning of our work in order to seek out worthy ways of organizing ourselves twenty years into the twenty-first century.

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José Eduardo Barajas (Maseco), "Golden Shower", 2018. Oil on canvas, 60 x 45 cm. Image courtesy of the artist

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