- Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture by Gregory Sholette,
Pluto Press, 2011
- In a now-famous case of conflict of interest, the New Museum’s Skin Fruit, (2008) exhibited works from boardmember Dakis Jouannou’s collection, curated by Jeff Koons who is also heavily collected by Jouannou. Many major board members have private museums while also heavily playing the market from Eli Broad, trustee at MoMA and MOCA and the Broad Museum to Robert S Taubman, member of Sotheby’s board with the Taubman Museum of Art etc.
From a 2008 ArtsJournal article, here are some excerpts from “Museum Trusteeship” by Alan and Patricia Ullberg, published in 1981 by the American Association of Museums.
The trustee’s own acquisitions must not compete with his museum’s; he is obligated to put the collecting ambitions of his institution before his own. The collections management policy should itemize in detail the collecting interests of the museum so that trustees who collect are put on notice that certain activities related to their personal collecting must be circumscribed while they serve on the board….
The ethical standards that the board adopts for managing potential conflicts of interest for trustees are, in some museums, the same as those applied to the staff. The rules for staff with respect to collecting generally aim to prevent situations in which staff members compete with the museum or profit from their positions or official duties….
The trustee who collects could be liable to the museum for profits he makes as a provable consequence of actions taken by the museum if his participation was a major influence in the institution’s decision to take those actions. Such a case might occur, for example, if he persuaded the museum to hold an exhibition of objects represented in his personal collection and then was able to sell those objects at a profit. Whether his objects were exhibited or not, there is a conflict of interest and potential liability to the museum in this situation.
- Some caveats are needed for this statement. First, I’m speaking only to arts in the United States, and do not mean to ignore the important work carried out by the many individual artists and groups working loosely under the institutional critique mode, from Hans Haacke in the 1960’s (a member of AWC) to artists of the 80’s and 90’s such as Coco Fusco, Fred Wilson, Andrea Fraser, and many others. However, I am pointing out that these artists did not enjoy the support of large social movements in their critical examining of museums and also, it could be said that without a movement, the work functioned first as artworks and only secondly as political campaign, which is probably the reverse of AWC and OWS-related practices.
- The Kafala (Sponsorship) System is used in a number of Gulf states and required immigrant workers to have a sponsor while working, thus forfeiting a number of individual rights such as retaining their own passports, and relating to payments for their journey. During Gulf Labor’s 2014 trip to Saadiyat island, members were able independently monitor the situation and found that no worker they interviewed was in possession of their passport and that workers carried heavy debts, although UAE development corporation said much the opposite. For more information, please see Gulf Labor’s recent report: http://gulflabor.org/saadiyatreport2014/
- “The Warhol Next Door” by Patricia Cohen NY Times Jan 10, 2015,
- Although the SLAB market has since cooled somewhat, as recently as 2013, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Student Loan Securities Stay Hot” March 3, 2013 by Ruth Simon, Rachel Louise Ensign and Al Yoon:
“SLM Corp. the largest U.S. student lender, last week sold $1.1 billion of securities backed by private student loans. Demand for the riskiest bunch—those that will lose money first if the loans go bad—was 15 times greater than the supply, people familiar with the deal said.” To learn more about these securities, I recommend reading Creditocracy and the Case for Debt Refusal by Andrew Ross, Or Books, 2015.
- A 2013 Report in Education Sector called “In Debt and In the Dark: It’s Time for Better Information on Student Loan Defaults” begins: Student college loan default rates have nearly doubled in recent years. The three-year default rate exceeds 13 percent nationally. Read report here: http://www.educationsector.org/publications/debt-and-dark-it%E2%80%99s-time-better-information-student-loan-defaults
Additionally, in a recent study by Citizens Financial, 49% of students reported considering dropping out because of debt. “Debt Has Some College Students Thinking About Dropping Out.” By Katie Lobosco, October 9, 2014, CNN Money.
Here is the report: https://www.citizensbank.com/pdf/student-loan-debt.pdf
- See BFAMFAPhD’s report on the economic reality of artists: http://censusreport.bfamfaphd.com/poverty