Martha Rosler. Exhibition view of “Home Front, part of If You Lived Here”… 1989. Image courtesy of Martha Rosler.

Caring in Public: Notes on the Mediation of Social Practice

Kirsten Lloyd

Recent discourse emanating from smaller progressive art institutions has increasingly centred around “care,” whether emphasising a commitment to exploring care as both a core value and method (Collective), expressing a demand to ‘take care to power’ (BAK) or elaborating the value of “caring inquiry” (e-flux).1 This focus is variously associated with processes of (un)learning, decolonization, forging alliances or embedding work within care sectors (Artlink).2 The curator Anthony Huberman contributed to this current of interest with an essay published in 2011. Exhorting institutions to “learn to care,” Huberman transplanted ideas familiar from the literature on socially-minded art practice to art’s infrastructures; namely, the prioritization of face-to-face encounters, the focus on practice over objects, and the creation of micro-communities of self-selecting participants.3 In his proposed alternative, competition is to be replaced by care and camaraderie.

Parallel to these developments, attempts at reform can also be seen in those larger, collecting institutions that have forged an alliance with the artist Tania Bruguera’s “Asociación de Arte Útil.”4 Pivoting not on “care” but “usefulness,” they too shadow evolutions in what can be broadly categorized as social art practice. Sven Lütticken has framed such practices as an expanded form of institutional critique that attempt, once again, “to recompose art’s relationship to its social basis and organizational structures.”5 But while much attention has been afforded to the most recent reanimations of the dialectic between art and life, the same cannot be said of the relationship between social art practice and its structures of mediation. In this short essay I will sketch out three preliminary notes on this topic as well as the cycling of the concept of care across the art field and beyond. I begin with a consideration of curatorial and institutional positions in relation to social art practice, drawing on my own experience as an independent curator working on a project with the Austrian collective WochenKlausur. My aim is to counter the overriding impression that mediation structures are incidental (or even bypassed entirely) in this realm of creative production, and to contend that care is privileged by both. From there I build out from my previous writing on the politics and economics of care in art to problematize straightforward associations between care, caring approaches and anticapitalism or “opting out.” In place of a conclusion I begin to reposition care by asking what “social reproduction theory” can bring to an analysis of the art institution and, more specifically, its current investment in care. The intention is to use this set of three notes to test out some initial ideas that, admittedly, remain unresolved.

Throughout the essay I want to continue to hold in my mind a set of questions that I have been grappling with for some time: What forms do care relations take in the encounters produced through, around and by the contemporary artwork? What does it mean to embed care in a capitalist art economy? Is critique compatible with the reproduction of the relations being critiqued? How can we characterize the relationship between resistance and resilience in neoliberal times? My intention is to join other contributions to this special issue in complicating the paradigm of care in order to sharpen the analysis of socially-minded interventions in the art field whether made by artists or curators and their associated institutions.

Note 1: Curating Care

In February 2013 WochenKlausur took up residence in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) as part of the ECONOMY exhibition, co-curated by Angela Dimitrakaki and myself.6 Over the course of four weeks they set about establishing a worker’s cooperative with unemployed women living in the Drumchapel area of the city. Provisionally entitled Participatory Economics, the venture had two aims: to address high levels of unemployment by encouraging entrepreneurship and to tackle nutritional issues stemming, in part, from a lack of access to fresh produce. The cooperative decided to centre their new business around the sale of inexpensive “meal bags” containing a simple recipe card together with the exact quantities of required ingredients. A few years later, I drew from my experiences working with this project to call attention to what I saw as the peculiar neglect of “care” as a concept in the literature associated with social practice.7 Taking Grant Kester’s focus on conversation as one example, I argued that his conception of “dialogic aesthetics” could not fully account for the shape of encounters and working conditions produced by and through such artworks. Augmenting his conceptualization of dialogue as a process of art production that opens up the possibility of transformative action, care attends to the values that undergird the process together with the type of labor involved. Though many examples of social practice foreground emotional and even physical engagements with participants, in the case of Participatory Economics care was performed at a remove “in public,” through a pragmatic engagement with the local context and the administrative routes of negotiation, fundraising and networking. Given that the rise of social practice since the early 1990s has occurred in tandem with the “curatorial turn,” their entwinement and their shared commitments to the (broad) dynamics of care merits further analysis.

Fig 1. WochenKlausur, Women-led Workers´ Cooperative (2013), documentation image.  

Curators have undoubtedly played a central role in raising the profile and, arguably, acceptance of socially-minded approaches within the artworld. Yet, while the number of survey exhibitions, biennial contributions and solo shows dedicated to socially-minded approaches suggests that they have found ways to assimilate these practices into existing structures of mediation, my focus here is not on the display of care but on other types of curatorial engagement, as well as attempts to rethink the art institution and the practices associated with it.8 Discussing her influential program of engaged “public art,” Culture in Action (1993), curator Mary Jane Jacobs suggested that mediation structures must expand and even reshape “to follow what artists do, and to enable them further.”Culture in Action eschewed conventional public art to instead focus on eight durational projects realized across the city of Chicago by teams of artists and community groups. While Jacobs acknowledged that the type of projects she worked with were boosted through their insertion into an “exhibitionary frame,” she nevertheless insisted that this frame extended far beyond the moment of display to encompass “a totality of thinking, making and experiencing.”10 Together with the breakdown of the artist/curator/audience triumvirate and resulting experimentation with models of co-production, decentering and dispersal are means by which the rise of social practice has been said to precipitate a significant shift in how art is mediated.11 A history is now beginning to form around these connections, whereby curatorial interventions like Culture in Action or Martha Rosler’s If You Lived Here…. (1989) are related to subsequent developments.12 Prime among these are New Institutionalism and the rise of “the curatorial.”13 Broadly understood, both centre on experimental/(auto)critical, durational engagements with the art field that demote display while conceiving research and artistic production together. Though care did not feature strongly in the discourse surrounding either, the developments outlined above (and tracked in this special issue) suggest that the millennial focus on knowledge production has been augmented with an altogether more affective, attentive, even kinder, dimension.

Frequent references to curatorial and artistic “co-production” indicate the extent to which mediation has been reconceived and repositioned in relation to artistic processes. Here “care” is often seen to move from a concern with the object of art (its maintenance and display) to the art project and the social relations involved. Elke Krasny’s alternative genealogy of modern curating offers a valuable frame through which to consider these recent developments. Reaching back to the 18th century, she notes the parallel emergence of the museum and the salonière – a private, domestic space, often engineered by women, in which “alive, lived and practiced knowledges” were shared.14 Krasny contends that each gave rise to a different trajectory: the vertical exhibitionary complex and the horizontal “conversational complex.” In the latter, the curator is figured as a hostess, skilled at forging and nurturing relationships – a femininized alternative to, for example, the masculinist model of the curator-auteur. In her words, “the politics practiced in the salon was a society with no masters and no hierarchy; the domestic art of conversation was based upon care as co-emergence, co-dependence, and co-authorship.”15 Though she does not make the connection with social practice herself, Krasny’s account of what we might call “care-full dialogic curating” aligns with Michael Birchall’s suggestion that the contemporary curator has become “a carer of communities.”16 Yet, as with the exhibition-maker, curators of conversations past and present continue to be tethered to spaces (and mechanisms) of mediation, even if by a long leash. Moreover, these spaces usually remain thoroughly classed.17

Returning to WochenKlausur, their report on Participatory Economics (later re-named Women-led Workers´ Cooperative) is published on their website.18 Writing just after the conclusion of their residency the artists were careful to acknowledge the supporting role played by a local community organization (Drumchapel L.I.F.E.) but did not elaborate on the project’s connections with CCA beyond the inclusion of its name in the post’s title line alongside the duration of the artists’ involvement. This distancing can be countered by highlighting the hidden yet experimental role played by the institution and its agents in terms of commissioning and hosting the venture, identifying core themes and providing access to existing relationships with partner organizations. In other words, the institution can be said to have provided access to the primary “materials” of artistic production – in the case of social practice this means access to human participants and the web of social relations.

WochenKlausur’s brief burst of creative action was later woven into the core of CCA activities, with the venture used as a model for future community engagements and forming a part of the institution’s lore.19 Here we can see the institution using its program to mitigate at least some of the issues that accompany the project model of art production. Tania Bruguera makes this more explicit in her account of Arte Útil:

I see myself as an initiator (rather than a performer or even an artist) … with social and political public work we do not own all the work and that the ways by which these works can be sustained are by the intervention, care and enthusiasm of others.20

Which others is not specified. Though both Bruguera and WochenKlausur do briefly register that their respective projects take place inside, or at the invitation of, arts institutions, they do not choose to elaborate on this relationship or on their projects’ foundations and “long tails.” The lack of consideration afforded to these afterlives aligns with funders’ evaluation schedules, typically due once the initial budget is spent. In the case of Women-led Workers´ Cooperative this material was required three months after the artists’ departure – the very point at which the enterprise faltered: the already fragile cooperative of three women began to dissipate and the plans to open a shop front could not be realized. A number of substantive questions arise here: What is at stake for the participants themselves? What happens when a project designed to integrate individuals into a capitalist economy through instilling an entrepreneurial spirit fails to do so?21 Where does responsibility for the social relations created through artworks ultimately lie?

The complex progression of the project did not end there. While CCA did not continue to work with the women directly, the institution did collaborate with Drumchapel L.I.F.E. to maintain subsequent iterations of the enterprise long after the artists’ (and the womens’) departure. The project that evolved out of this work – Flat-Pack Meals – went on to be piloted in the East End of Glasgow in 2016 and was a finalist in a best community initiative award in 2018.22 Notably, the cooperative model which was designed to help unemployed participants “lift themselves” out of poverty has been succeeded by a volunteer-led structure, while the focus has been narrowed to deal with nutrition alone. CCA continue to frame the project as a centerpiece of their ongoing engagements with the politics and economies of food.

It would appear that a more comprehensive analysis of such artworks necessitates attending to this long institutional “life,” which usually denotes a far longer duration than the artist is typically able to dedicate.23 It is, however, worth noting the significant divergences that exist between these well-known – internationally mobile – models of social art practice and others stemming from alternative lineages and contexts. In the case of Artlink, the accounts published here include Laura Spring’s notes on generating new communication methods, Claire Barclay’s insistence on the value of touch and embodied experience as well as Wendy Jacobs’ facilitation of intimate and bespoke encounters between objects and people. They illustrate not only the commitment to durational projects (often spanning many years) but also the centering of specific relationships and convey the active role played by the institution in supporting this organic development. Artlink’s task is to lay foundations, sustain relationships, and evolve the narratives that, as Alison Stirling asserts, can impact on “how care [in the sector] is experienced and provided.” In these cases it is clear that the responsibility for social relations produced is held jointly.

Fig 2. Artlink Staff Training by Miriam Walsh – Who Do You Think You Work With? 2014. Photo: Alison Stirling.  

Complicating Kester and Krasny’s emphasis on horizontal orientations, Jacobs’ earlier statement implies that mediation structures inherently introduce a vertical exhibitionary axis. Here Dan Karlholm’s partitioning of what he calls “reality art’s publics” into a primary group of participants and a secondary group of viewers is useful.24 He argues:

The role of the secondary public is no less essential – I would say that it is more essential – than the primary public’s, to this form of art. Without the tacit consent and approval of the secondary public of more or less passive art world inhabitants, there would be no processes as art. But their role, as part of the everyday processes of the art world, is not acknowledged openly, which is hard not to interpret as unreflective, hypocritical or even cynical [emphasis in original].25

To this I would then add that the mobilization of this secondary audience is usually a curatorial or institutional role, and that the address need not take the form of a conventional exhibition format, but rather that this audience can implicated through a variety of means. Claire Bishop has further noted that the narratives around participatory work are frequently managed by the curator. She puts the “critical foreclosure” that besets this material down to the establishment of “personal relationships” over the course of a project. My own experience has shown that it is necessary to press the inverse relationship Bishop draws between involvement and objectivity beyond friendship and attend to this notion of “co-production.” Adopting an economic perspective on curatorial efforts to care for the project reveals that such narratives not only determine the work’s future life or viability (its capacity, for example, to secure further funding) but the extent to which the curator’s career is implicated by its apparent success, or failure. After all, artistic and curatorial practices are now marked (albeit to different degrees) by precarity, reputational economies and a dependence on networks. In this light, Bruguera’s bold assertion that failure is not a possibility for the useful artwork begins to take on new dimensions.26 Part of the curatorial and institutional task is to paper over the ructions induced by precarity; doing so enables the concrete reproduction of art, artists and their institutions. Yet if the risks that attend basing thinking and future programs on incomplete or unreliable narratives are clear, the means by which we can counter this process and begin the important work of paying attention to contradictions and complications are less so.

Note 2: Economies of Care

Huberman advocates for an alternative institutional model capable of overcoming individualism as well as apparently insatiable demands for speed, scale and constant growth. If the economic grounds for his proposed shift are only inferred, Carla Cruz later pressed this context to the fore, positing the arts institution as a potential haven in which strategies of care can be used to overcome vulnerability and achieve stability in precarious times.27 What can be said about the association between care and the implicit critique of capitalism drawn by both writers? It is worth noting that “care” is not alone here, “collaboration” and “resilience” appear to hold a similar promise. Setting collaboration as the cornerstone of the “social turn,” Bishop noted that “the discursive criteria of socially engaged art are, at present, drawn from a tacit analogy between anticapitalism and the Christian ‘good soul’.”28 Bishop was undoubtedly more concerned with the latter and I have taken issue with her simplistic – even disparaging – remarks elsewhere through an analysis of care ethics.29 Here I suggest that the same anticapitalist drive and recourse to ethical associations mark debates on usefulness and care.30

Cruz frames care, cooperation, solidarity and mutuality as escape attempts. It is not hard to imagine why some seek to opt out of an artworld wherein, as Ben Davis describes, the dominant values are determined by a capitalist ruling class whose agents (from corporations and art investors to trustees of large cultural institutions) employ art as status marker, financial instrument or “artwashing” device.31 In Hito Steyerl’s words: “If contemporary art is the answer, the question is: How can capitalism be made more beautiful?”32 While Huberman suggests that smaller institutions he cites are happily “maladjusted” to these contexts, Cruz describes another terrain marked by scarcity following the withdrawal of public funds. Scarcity is of course yoked to precarization, a condition that has now become generalized, stretching well beyond employment to incorporate other aspects of daily life. 33 Isabell Lorey offers a definition: “It is threat and coercion, even while it opens up new possibilities of living and working. Precarization means living with the unforeseeable, with contingency.”34 The recent rise of experimental housing solutions such as co-living enterprises is a case in point. Targeted at creative (but perhaps lonely) individuals, they claim to provide “a more connected and collaborative living environment” in cities experiencing so-called housing crises.35 In one London venture (coincidently called The Collective) 9.2m2 x 5.8m2 rooms start at £240 per week with “memberships” offered on a nine- or twelve-month basis. Offering a different take on Cruz’s care-driven reforms to curb the effects of scarcity, the venture’s website declares: “Sharing is Caring.” In this project living model, the stresses that accompany the intensification of collaboration are apparently ameliorated through appeals to care.

Fig 3. The Collective, website screengrab June 2018.

Alistair Hudson’s recent effort to “reprogram” the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) went beyond rethinking curatorial approaches in times of austerity. Entering into a partnership with Bruguera’s “Asociación de Arte Útil,” he sought to renew an inoperative – or, as he puts it, “broken” – institution with the aim of enabling it to take on a supporting role within other sectors.36 Discussing this example of “Museum 3.0,” Larne Abse Gogarty has noted that Hudson’s ambition to contribute to state services such as housing, healthcare and education, effectively parcels out the “good” side of the state as potential sites for artistic or curatorial intervention: prisons, police and border guards receive no mention.37 To this I would add that reframing “good” as “caring” clarifies that the divide is between one of care and violence. As feminist analysis has shown, this opposition is false: in 1975 Sylvia Federici referred to housework as ‘the subtlest violence that capitalism has ever perpetrated against any section of the working class.’38 More recently Lorey noted that, “care work is closely linked with the denial of labor rights and citizenship rights.” Here we can loop back to Abse Gogary’s central critique of Hudson’s affiliation with Arte Útil that takes to task his affirmation of the state and (useful) “citizenship.” Following her correct assertion that the latter is a racialized and fundamentally exclusionary notion we can add that coercion and care are far from incompatable.39

Discussing the “entrepreneurialization” of arts and culture, Angela McRobbie has highlighted the exploitation that accompanies caring about one’s work in this gendered field.40 While Cruz dwells on this very issue, calling for caring institutions to address the material conditions of their workers’ labor, Huberman instead centers his attention on institutional approaches to programming, emphasizing the need to slow down, undertake longer-term “episodic” projects, and prioritize research over exhibitions (or process over outputs).41 If the aim of this care-full approach is to critique or circumvent the conditions described by Davis, it is worth remembering that ‘financial instruments’ do not necessarily take the form of objects stored in airport vaults. To give an example, “the project” – now the hegemonic model of contemporary production (and not only in the art field) – has frequently been connected to precarization, nomadism and accelerated working conditions.

In her book Artist at Work, Bojana Kunst observes that while the project is apparently orientated towards the realisation of possibilities, the transformation of subjectivities and a moment of completion or consummation, this notion of progressive and linear chronological drive towards an output is misleading.42 Drawing an analogy with debt culture she notes that the project is predicated on promises for the future. One result of this connection to the future is an enduring fascination with incomplete or in-process work, as well as emerging practitioners. A useful illustration of this tendency is the shift in art’s role in “regeneration” schemes.43 Josie Berry and Anthony Iles have observed that a decline in public art commissions has been paralleled by the desire to accommodate artist studios.44 In a move that can be characterized as one from decoration to promise, the potential – or even just simulation – of creativity is apparently all that is required. The more open the form, the better. Just as Lucy Lippard quickly reconsidered her early pronouncements on the “dematerialization” of art to acknowledge that even documents could not evade the appetites of the market, process-based and caring approaches (whether in institutional or social art practice) ably demonstrate that intersections between the economy and the art world pass well beyond a concern with the production and purchase of images and objects.45

Note 3: Reproduction

It was the ambiguity of “care” as a term (referring to both labour and value systems) as well as the naturalization of its associations with peace and comfort that initially focused my attention on social reproduction theory (SRT), a framework elaborated in feminist political economy. Though social reproduction has historically been connected to discussions on the domestic sphere and the labour performed therein, recent engagements have offered a more expansive account that incorporates the reproduction of people more generally through education, healthcare and culture. In seeking to enlarge Marxism – to fill in the gaps and go beyond the formal economy and attend to the shadows and scaffolding of production – SRT offers an integrative approach that helps to shed light on the comments and contradictions outlined above concerning care and violence in the capitalist economy. According to Meg Luxton:

By developing a class analysis that shows how the production of goods and services and the production of life are part of one integrated process, social reproduction does more than identify the activities involved in the daily and generation reproduction of daily life. It allows for an explanation of the structures, relationships, and dynamics that produce those activities.46

Addressing social reproduction in relation to the field of art opens up multiple avenues of inquiry.47 We might consider WochenKlausur’s reformist attempts to integrate women deemed “disposable,” rehabilitating them into a flexible, entrepreneurial workforce in a manner that reproduces rather than challenges the “new realities.”48 Or Artlink’s interventions into healthcare provision which effectively confront the state with its own deficiencies. Or Shona Macnaughton and Millena Lízia’s discussion in this special issue offering two examples of artists engaged with the critical performance of caring labor that attends to the specificities of gender, race and class. Notably, both address the position of the art institution directly: Lízia through the maintenance of a museum in a city where she points out, no black artists have secured gallery representation; Macnaughton by drawing connections between childrearing, city regeneration and cultural institutions. Their respective efforts to connect the theme of reproductive labor with the critique of the institution itself corresponds with Maria Vishmidt’s account of two vectors of theoretical work on social reproduction which emerged in the 1970s.49 Setting the feminist trajectory referred to above alongside the “infrastructural” critique offered by Louis Althusser, she attends to the latter’s focus on state and civil institutions’ (including cultural centers’) role in reproducing the relations of production: “Reproduction is then configured as the production of (material) ideology which works to render capitalism socially effective over time.”50 To this mix we can follow Kate Gray’s lead and add Pierre Bourdieu’s perspective that examines the intergenerational reproduction – and calcification – of social inequality.51 I want to suggest that bridging this triad and developing their connections further is a vital next step for those institutions and practices centering care.

Fig 4. Millenia Lízia. Empregada para um cubo branco. (Maid for a White Cube) Series áreadeserviço. (Service Area) Performance, 2014. Photo: Rebeca Campagnoli

Fig 5. Shona Macnaughton. Progressive (2017), performance detail. Photo by Matthew Williams.

In bringing together these notes my intention is certainly not to dispute the value and importance of care. As the texts in this special issue ably demonstrate, care-full approaches are urgently necessary today. Rather I want to hold on to another message that they cumulatively articulate; namely, that that there is nothing inherently oppositional or transformative about care, collaboration, duration or resilience. Care alone is not enough. In drawing out this perspective from the artistic and mediation practices presented, the debates around “self-care” offer a useful lens. Aqdas Aftab points out that contemporary appropriations of Audre Lorde’s work (including her statement “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”) frequently excise any reference to race and sexuality.52 In response Aftab asserts that “we need to practice not only self-care, but also radical self-critique.” Yoking the practice and analysis of care to theories of social reproduction offers an opportunity to do this, and to begin to construct the relations of reproduction (as they are manifested in the art field and beyond) along radically different lines. In other words, to find ways to avoid reproducing the relations under critique. We must keep asking ourselves what kind of social reproduction are we struggling for and what should this struggle look like in practice? How can we ensure that it is a shared responsibility, “co-produced” in a way that is alive to the necessity of different experiences and perspectives?




Kirsten Lloyd
Kirsten is a Lecturer in the School of History of Art at The University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on late 20th and 21st art and curatorial mediation, including lens-based practice, participatory work and realism. Recent publications include “If You Lived Here… : A Case Study on Social Reproduction in Feminist Art History,” in Feminism and Art History Now (I.B. Tauris, 2017) and a co-edited special issue of the journal Third Text on Social Reproduction and Art (2017). She is the Academic Lead for the University’s Contemporary Art Research Collection. See

1 See; e-flux journal, What’s Love (or Care, Intimacy, Warmth, Affection) Got to Do with It? (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2017).

2 See Kate Gray and Alison Stirling in this special issue. Other examples include Casco’s reference to ‘our effort to actualize artistic practices via non-capitalist, feminist values of reproduction, care and sustainability’ ( and Arika’s episodic exploration of care and empathy (

3 Anthony Huberman, ‘Take Care’, in Circular Facts, ed. Mai Abu ElDahab, Binna Choi, and Emily Pethick, 2011, 9–17. See Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, 2002, Grant Kester, Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).

4 See Queens Museum, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and the Van Abbemuseum.

5 Sven Lütticken, ‘Social Media: Practices of (In)Visibility in Contemporary Art’, Afterall, no. 40 (2015),

6 See and Angela Dimitrakaki and Kirsten Lloyd, eds., Economy: Art, Production and the Subject in the Twenty-First Century, Value, Art, Politics 11 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015).

7 Kirsten Lloyd, ‘Being With, Across, Over and Through: Art’s Caring Subjects, Ethics Debates and Encounters’, in Economy: Art, Production and the Subject in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Angela Dimitrakaki and Kirsten Lloyd, 2015, 140–57.

8 Living as Form, New York (2011), Berlin Biennale 7 (2012), Forms of Action, Glasgow (2017).

9 Mary Jane Jacobs, ‘Chicago Is Culture in Action’, in Exhibition as Social Intervention: ‘Culture in Action’ 1993, 2014, 178.

10 Ibid.

11 David Morris and Paul O’Neill, ‘Exhibition as Social Intervention’, in Exhibition as Social Intervention: ‘Culture in Action’ 1993 (London: Afterall, 2014), 8.

12 See Morris and O’Neill, “Exhibition as Social Intervention,” Nina Möntmann,(Under)Privileged Spaces: On Martha Rosler’s “If You Lived Here…”’, E-Flux Journal, no. 9 (2009), and.

13 In New Institutionalism programming is oriented towards establishing what can be called a discursive framework, effectively shifting attention away from the display of an art object and towards a durational engagement with the cognitive sites developed around it. More recently, ‘the curatorial has gained traction. Linked to, but differing from, “curating” it consciously refers to a broader mode of cultural praxis capable of producing a range of outcomes – not only exhibitions. Often described as a methodology, the focus tends to be orientated away from final products and towards processes, methods and tactics. For a brief introduction to the relevant debates see: Eszter Szakács, “Curatorial,” Curatorial Dictionary, accessed Sep 27, 2016,

14 Elke Krasny, ‘The Salon Model: The Conversational Complex’, in Feminism and Art History Now, ed. Victoria Horne and Lara Perry (London: IB Tauris, 2017), 147–63.

15 Ibid., 160.

16 Michael G Birchall, ‘Socially Engaged Art in the 1990s and Beyond’, On Curating, no. 25 (n.d.), http://www.on-

17 In 2015, the Warwick Commission reported that, in England, ‘The wealthiest, better educated and least ethnically diverse 8% of the population forms the most culturally active segment’ benefiting disproportionately from public subsidies in their consumption of culture. See also the report on of the workforce in the creative industries:  Panic!: It’s an Arts Emergency available at


19 From discussion with CCA’s Public Engagement Curator, Viviana Checchia.


21 It must be remembered that this is not unusual – the majority of entrepreneurial enterprises are doomed to failure.

22 The short film Making Flat-Pack Meals was premiered at CCA in 2016 as part of their ‘Cooking Pot’ programme. See

23  One exception is when the artist constructs themselves or the project as the institution as in the case of Rick Lowe’s Project Row Houses (1993 – present). See

24  Dan Karlholm, “Reality Art: The Case of Oda Projesi,” Leitmotiv 5 (2005-06): 115-124.

25  Karlholm, “Reality Art,” 124

26 Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (London: Verso, 2012).

27 Carla Cruz, “Practicing Solidarity” (Common Practice, London, February, 2016), 8.

28 Claire Bishop, ‘The Social Turn: Collaboration and Its Discontents’, Artforum (February 2006

29 Lloyd, “Being With, Across, Over and Through: Art’s Caring Subjects, Ethics Debates and Encounters.”

30 Angela Dimitrakaki and Kirsten Lloyd, ‘The Enigma of Collaboration: Three Theses on Art, Capitalism and Subversion’ Paper presented at the conference Artistic Subversions: Setting the Conditions of Display, Amsterdam, 2 February 2017.

31 Ben Davis, 9.5 Theses on Art and Class (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013), 28.

32 Hito Steyerl, ‘Politics of Art: Contemporary Art and the Transition to Post-Democracy’, E-Flux Journal 21 (December 2010),].

33 See Isabell Lorey’s analysis of precarisation as a form of governance. Isabell Lorey, State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious (London: Verso, 2015). [Emphasis added].

34 Ibid., 1.

35 See Thanks to Victoria Anderson for introducing me to this venture through her paper ‘Bringing creativity into the Bedroom, the Living Room, and the Communal Kitchen: Notions of Creativity in Co-living’ presented at the Art & Housing Struggles conference, London, June 2018.

36 Alastair Hudson interview by Axisweb, ‘What Is Art for? Part Two – The Museum 3.0’, available at 134770141.

37 Larne Abse Gogarty, ‘“Usefulness” in Contemporary Art and Politics’, Third Text 31, no. 1 (2017), 122.

38 Sylvia Federici, ‘Wages Against Housework (1975)’, in Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2012), 16.

39 Abse Gogarty, ‘“Usefulness” in Contemporary Art and Politics’, 122.

40 Lorey, State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious., 96.

41 Cruz, “Practicing Solidarity,” 8

42 Bojana Kunst, Artist at Work, Proximity of  Art and Capitalism (Winchester: Zero Books, 2015)

43 The connection between art, artists and gentrification or regeneration has long been acknowledged. See Rosalyn Deutsche and Cara Gendel Ryan, “The Fine Art of Gentrification,” October 31 (1984): 91-111.

44 Josie Berry and Anthony Iles, ‘From Creative-Led Regeneration to Developer-Led Art?’, paper given at the Art & Housing Struggles conference, London, June 2018.

45  Lucy Lippard and John Chandler, “The Dematerialisation of Art,” in Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology, eds. Alexander Alberro and Blake Stimson (Cambridge MA; London: MIT Press, 1999): 46-51; Lucy Lippard, “Postface,” in Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972 (Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001): 263-264.

46 Kate Bexanson and Meg Luxton, eds., Social Reproduction: Feminist Political Economy Challenges Neoliberalism (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006), 37.

47 Edited by Angela Dimitrakaki and myself, a special issue of the journal Third Text examines ‘Social Reproduction and Art’ (Issue 144, January 2017).  See also Tithi Bhattacharya, Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression (London: Pluto Press, 2017).

48 For a brilliant account of the ‘NGOization’ of feminism see Susan Watkins, ‘Which Feminisms?’, New Left Review, no. 109 (2018): 5–76.

49 Marina Vishmidt, ‘The Two Reproductions in (Feminist) Art and Theory since the 1970s’, Third Text 31, no. 1 (2017): 50–66.

50 Ibid., 54.

51 See Pierre Bourdieu et al., The Love of Art: European Art Museums and Their Public (Cambridge; Malden, Mass.: Polity Press, 2013).

52  Aqdas Aftab, ‘Appropriating Audre: On The Need to Locate the Oppressor Within Us’, bitchmedia, 22 February 2017, Though Aftab focuses on references to self-care in social justice circles, it is important to also cite entirely depoliticised ‘self-care’ products centred on coping strategies for those feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of the hectic modern world. See Jayne Hardy’s The Self-Care Project: How to Let Go of Frazzle and Make Time for You (2017).