Art as Currency for Visiting Artists

Why haven’t I ever thought of this before?! I want to pay visiting artists with my own paintings. Art departments traditionally have budget issues. It is the nature of now. So the way to deal with the situation is for me to take the financial loss myself. If I actually care about teaching and art, then maybe this exchange makes quite a lot of sense. I make enough paintings so this could work out.

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Of course the issue is that people will be getting paintings that are not paid for in the standard model of art for currency. Is that disruptive to our world view? Will collectors be less interested in me? Is this really a poor choice because then I will never be purchased by important collectors and therefore never get into museums and therefore never fit in a career model we understand? If I do this will I get to have food and shelter?

I know artists have traditionally (and contemporaneously) traded art for services. Pollock paid rent with paintings. I know folks who get dental work through art trade. So why not bring this model into academia?

Does this create a problematic precedent? Could we say that our art labor should be fairly compensated? Of course. If we begin allowing our labor to be traded for things other than currency, then perhaps our labor is diminished? Does that work? Is that right? Is this idea damaging to artists?

There are some good things about the concept. It gives me agency within my school. It gives me agency within my artist community. It allows artists to visit who may never have done so purely due to budgets. It allows students to meet working local artists. Students get to meet people who are living the life they could live. Everyone involved would get to network with each other.

I would appreciate feedback on this. It sounds exciting but there are potential issues. What do we think? Email or comment: jay@jayhendrick.com

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