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Seminar 3 // Resident Good, Resident Evil, Resident Confusion?

SEMINAR SERIES // RESIDENT GOOD, RESIDENT EVIL, RESIDENT CONFUSION?

DEVELOPING CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE GREAT CONTEMPORARY ART RESIDENCY COMPLEX

Seminar 3: Modelling residencies within wider art economies 

In this meeting Rachel Withers aims to add some economic analysis to the previous session’s discussion. Most artists earn their main living in fields other than making art, so “time off” needs to be time for production. A minority of professional artists earn thair livelihood from what they create, and have to “come up with the goods” in conformity with schedules agreed with dealers, commissioners and curators. Both groups negotiate a complex, pressured economy; where do residencies fit within the system?

To develop the discussion Rachel will look at two authors’ contrasting approaches to modelling the social economics of creative work: Isabelle Graw’s High Price: Art Between the Market and Celebrity Culture (2009) and Hans Abbing’s Why Are Artists Poor? The Exceptional Economy of the Arts (2002). She will summarise some key propositions from each and test their applicability for understanding the phenomenon of the artist’s residency. She also warmly invites seminar contributors’ input and discussion of their own preferred texts and theories in this area.


This seminar series is part of PRAKSIS’s fourteenth residency Now that’s what I call an artist’s residency!. It sets out to anatomise the diverse range of phenomena that come under the title, “artist’s residency”. It proposes that, by asking questions about artist’s residencies, we can expose and probe many of the foundational questions, problems and contradictions that both bedevil and enable present-day artmaking.  

We will almost certainly not arrive at definitive answers to the issues we encounter. However, by placing the theories and practices of artists’ residencies on the bigger, global contemporary art map, we can potentially make more informed decisions about where we wish to place ourselves, and our own practices, on that map – and devise strategies for getting there.

This seminar series is designed to be of interest to anyone presently working in, or thinking critically about, the institutions of contemporary art. Everyone is welcome and free discussion is warmly invited.


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