Keith Sanborn on Wed, 2 May 2001 05:15:29 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> Sorry, there's no fee, c'mon it's just a link!

Dear nettimers:

My apologies, after so long, I should have the hang of this by now, 
but I always seem to forget that the reply for nettime--at least on 
my emailer--defaults to the individual who made the original post.

Here's the post that Peter is referring to. And by the way, to 
respond just briefly to Peter's critique, I do reference the copper 
wire layers, albeit ironically as the "socio-electronic food chain" 
in my post below. In a sense, this amounts to a chicken and egg 
problem: the museums would be wired anyway, just to do business. But 
I'll respond later elsewhere.

Keith Sanborn

In fact, Frampton refused to screen the work, in the version of the 
story he told me, unless he were paid. I believe it was Donald 
Ritchie who was the curator involved. Someone will correct me if that 
is wrong. Frampton, finally, did get paid and forever changed the 
policy at MOMA. By today's standard's in that universe, showing at 
MOMA is one of the best paying gigs you can get, at least for one 
person shows.

On the other hand, one might argue that filmmakers subsidizing the 
museum is a special case because making films has been and continues 
to be increasingly ludicrously expensive. What does it cost you to 
put up a website? Not much I suspect, by comparison. Any idea what 
even a bolex, a few lenses and some film costs these days?

One may argue, of course, that the shift in the overhead from labor 
time to material expenditure is symptomatic of the time in which we 
live. Or put another way: what economic activity does the website 
generate? There are no cleanup crews, guards, poster hangers, 
printers, or delivery truck drivers. (One may reference the 
socio-electronic food chain if one wishes, however.) Museum directors 
are almost always paid, though not all curators are invariably paid, 
at least in the US.

Nonetheless, the museum trades in social prestige; so why not expect 
a cost for maintaining their potlatch seat for the museum's funders? 
Why should a museum not subsidize or pay a fee to an artist whose 
work it exhibits? Painters have been known to get "hanging fees," not 
to mention the prestige a museum show brings which will ultimately 
bring up the price of their paintings. But Pay per view? I don't 
think so. After all, at MOMA the filmmaker is guaranteed a flat fee. 
If there's a good take at the door, that goes into the museum's 
coffers and goes towards maintaining the credibility of the museum as 
an institution worthy of support by governments, coporations, and 
other "philanthropic" organizations.

The fact is, you don't NEED a museum, or any other patron, in order 
to put up a website, unless of course, you have to hire someone to 
put up a website for you, because you don't know much about how to do 

Over the past decade a number of notable cases--of "visual artists" 
being heavily assisted by museum and foundation support in producing 
webprojects, which were often not very interesting--have demonstrated 
just how clueless museums have been about where and how to spend 
their money to support such work.

Why should any transaction exist at all between "artists" working on 
a website and a museum might be the better question, unless it's high 
culture institutional validation and a way to a bigger paycheck 
that's at stake. And for museum directors that's that chance to jump 
on the high tech band wagon and solicit funding from high tech 
companies who might just figure out a way to make the artists work 
into some viable commercial product--I mean the museums and the 
companies want to show their generosity and intelligent support for 
cutting edge work.

Keith Sanborn

Keith Sanborn

Keith Sanborn

>  >Do you think that artists shoul be paid everytime their website is linked?
>Back in the 1970s, the structuralist filmmaker Hollis Frampton was offered a
>retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This was the 
>pinnacle of the avant-garde media pyramid at the time, and Frampton was 
>naturally pleased.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: