Art Redistributed? —Introduction



We have all been on a quite a journey together this past year. There seem to have been more downs than ups, but there has also been a lot of reflection and critical inquiry.

The first edition we published after the pandemic began was the start of something. It represented the closer look we are all taking as a society, as a species, at what got us here and how we were, on the whole, both unprepared but very resilient. This most recent issue focuses on the economics of the art world and its impact on the culture around it. It feels like a third chapter in this ongoing story that we have been piecing together about what to do and how to do it.

For years now, we at the New Art Examiner have taken a critical look at the top-down, profit-driven art economy. But as economic turmoil for the many is matched by rising wealth for the few, we are more conscious every day of the disparate societal impact of a broken and corrupt system. The times we live in call for re-invigorated attention and bold ideas that challenge the status quo.

Though there is far more to be discussed, we are proud to present a collection of writing that explores the culture of the art economy and the ways artists and communities are generating new platforms to disrupt the insular art world. K.A. Letts covers Essay'd, a democratized arts writing model emerging in Detroit, and reviews Latina artist Marianna Olague's solo show—also in Detroit. We get an inside look at the labor economy of the art world from a nameless witness to questionable employment practices. In addition, we hear from artists whose socially engaged practices are not only questioning existing economic models but also generating new ones that strive to help sustain communities during the pandemic.

Radical ideas would fall to pieces without a thread to tie them together. Author, curator, activist, and institution builder Nato Thompson has a provided just that with a critique of 21st century art culture and a call for dramatic change. We hope to carry this spirit of innovation and change into 2021 and that you continue with us on this journey.

Happy New Year! Let’s make 2021 a year we can put our names on.



The Editors



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