What is a Civic Artist? – 什么是民间艺术家?

When artist Andrea Bowers began a quick overview of her practice by playing news clips covering her recent public project Somos 11 Millones/We Are 11 Million (in collaboration with Movimiento Cosecha) (2018) it took the morning crowd in the Sherry Lansing Theatre a moment to register that an English translation would not be coming. Instead, the highlight reel of on-the-street and passerby interviews were given in Spanish, by immigrants in New York City, and compiled from the Telemundo television network.

Bowers has developed her methodology, even if the results or intentions remain unfixed until the end: decide on a case or subject – an activist group, activist, or action – then research the group or environment. For 11 Million, commissioned for New York’s High Line, she had the institution conduct the outreach and communication with Movimiento Cosecha, a local organization of ‘DREAMers’ – documented but legally unresolved US residents who have become a contested population under the current administration. In initiating this working relationship, High Line staff would grow comfortable working with this activist group, and could continue to do so after Bowers’s involvement ended. The artist had Movimiento generate two slogans for the sign, and Bowers picked the shorter one of the two; it would be cheaper to produce.  

‘I see myself as an artist activist,’ she declared while clicking through images of the glowing red neon 11 Million installation lifted from Instagram. ‘I worked for Suzanne Lacy’ – seated a few feet from her onstage – ‘in her practice programme for 11 years, and it changed my life. I’ve always worked this way, but she helped me to consciously understand what I was doing […] She has a deep commitment to the community [she works with]. Activists don’t have time for a big community project, so what can I do as an artist? I can fundraise [for them]; I can document, or bear witness; and I can literally provide visuals. I make agitprop. Ask the person, ‘What do you need?’ Their needs are so much more creative than anything I could ever come up with.’

While such direct action from an individual is heartening, systemic funding is a more sustainable – and democratic – approach. At the Frieze LA talk, ‘Conversations on Patronage: What is a Civic Artist’, Bowers was joined by fellow panelist Kristin Sakoda, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Sakoda discussed LA’s civic art programme, which sets aside one percent of the budget for any county capital project for commissioning public works of art, whether it be a sculpture or social practice performance. The Commission also invites artists to tackle evolving urban obstacles. For last year’s Yes to ADU project, the city launched a design competition for architects and artists to reimagine the Accessory Dwelling Unit, a supplemental housing structure often built in private backyards, in response to Los Angeles’s quickly escalating housing crisis. The Arts Commission has also started to embed artists within county departments: one may be teamed up with the Registrar-Recorder to envision and galvanize the community engagement around the local voting system. The artist’s approach to modern city life may be the way we can all start to reimagine the community – or at least give voice to eleven million perspectives on the matter.  

‘Conversations on Patronage: What is a Civic Artist?’ took place at Frieze LA, 15 February 2019. For more information on the fair’s talks programme, click here.

Main image: Andrea Bowers, Somos 11 Millones/We Are 11 Million (in collaboration with Movimiento Cosecha), 2018. © the artist and The High Line

Jennifer Piejko

Jennifer Piejko is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles.

Frieze Week /

Frieze Los Angeles
Andrea Bowers

艺术家Andrea Bowers通过播放报道她最近的公共项目Somos 11 millones/We are 1100万(与Movimento Cosecha合作)(2018年)的新闻剪辑开始了对她的实践的快速概述,当时雪利兰辛剧院的早起人群花了一点时间才意识到英语翻译不会出现。取而代之的是,纽约市的移民用西班牙语,并从Telemundo电视网编辑了《在街上》和《路人访谈》的精彩片段。鲍尔斯发展了她的方法论,即使结果或意图直到最后都没有固定下来:决定一个案例或主题——一个活动家团体、活动家或行动——然后研究这个团体或环境。为了1100万美元,她委托纽约的高端机构,她让该机构与Movimito Cosecha(一个由“梦想家”组成的当地组织)进行了宣传和沟通,该组织记录了但法律上未解决的美国居民,他们在当前的政府下已经成为有争议的人口。在建立这种工作关系的过程中,高层员工将逐渐适应与这一激进组织的合作,并可能在鲍尔斯的参与结束后继续这样做。这位艺术家让moviminento制作了两个标语,鲍尔斯选择了其中较短的一个,这样做会更便宜。“我把自己看作是一个艺术家活动家,”她一边点击Instagram上的1100万个发光的红色霓虹灯装置的图片,一边宣称。“我为苏珊娜·拉西工作”坐在离舞台几英尺远的地方,“在她11年的实习项目中,这改变了我的生活。我一直是这样工作的,但她帮助我有意识地理解我在做什么[…]她对社区有着深刻的承诺[她与之合作]。活动家们没有时间做一个大型的社区项目,那么作为一个艺术家我能做些什么呢?我可以[为他们]筹款;我可以记录或作证;而且我可以从字面上提供视觉效果。我做搅拌棒。问那个人,‘你需要什么?’“他们的需求比我能想到的任何东西都更具创造性。”虽然个人的直接行动令人振奋,但系统性资金是一种更可持续、更民主的方法。在洛杉矶艺术委员会(Los Angeles County Arts Commission)执行主任克里斯汀•萨柯达(Kristin Sakoda)的陪同下,鲍尔斯参加了“关于赞助的对话:什么是公民艺术家”的座谈会。Sakoda讨论了洛杉矶的公民艺术项目,该项目为任何县资本项目预留了1%的预算,用于调试公共艺术作品,无论是雕塑还是社会实践表演。委员会还邀请艺术家解决不断演变的城市障碍。在去年的“对阿杜的肯定”项目中,该市发起了一场建筑师和艺术家的设计竞赛,以重新构想附属住宅单元,这是一个经常建在私人后院的补充住房结构,以应对洛杉矶迅速升级的住房危机。艺术委员会也开始将艺术家嵌入县政府部门:一个可以与登记员录音员合作,设想并激励社区参与当地的投票系统。艺术家对现代城市生活的态度可能是我们开始重新想象社区的方式,或者至少让1100万人对这个问题发表看法。于2019年2月15日在拉弗利泽举行。欲了解更多关于展会会谈计划的信息,请点击此处。主要图片:Andrea Bowers,Somos 11 millones/我们是1100万(与Moviminento Cosecha合作),2018年。礼貌:艺术家和高端人物詹妮弗·皮耶科詹妮弗·皮耶科是居住在洛杉矶的作家和编辑。Frieze Week/洛杉矶Frieze Andrea Bowers激进主义


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