This project consisted of three exhibitions, featuring artworks, ephemera and publications that have been mostly conceived and produced to be freely distributed. Historically relevant artworks, ephemera and publications loaned from private collections were presented side by side with contemporary work by emerging artists, including a series of project-specific artworks commissioned to emerging artists. Community high-school students and members of our audience were involved in the production of open-source artworks and instructional pieces, producing work that will ultimately become part of the three exhibitions.
The program spanned the whole summer, running from July 6 to September 22, 2012.
<> A book of interviews, email exchanges and contributions with/by Carrie Dashow, Pablo Helguera, Steve Lambert, Cesare Pietroiusti, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Elaine Tin Nyo, Brad Troemel, Amy Whitaker andCaroline Woolard, edited by Marco Antonini, was published in conjunction with the exhibition by NURTUREart and is available on ISSUU.
Apart from the gallery exhibitions, …Is This Free? also consisted of two side projects: Lawn School(curated by Megan Snowe and Rachel Steinberg), a series of free outdoor classes on various topics of practical and theoretical interest, open to any and all to teach and attend, that took place in city parks and public spaces, and …Can I Take This? (curated by Megan Snowe), a regularly updated bookshelf of free publications that became an integral part of the gallery exhibitions.
The program addressed a series of equally timely and important questions: Can art really be free? At what cost do creative ideas exist (and thrive) as acts of generosity? Who owns a work of art, once it is freely distributed and supposedly liberated from commercial interests? … Conceived as a collective effort and produced with the collaboration of a large group of artists, individuals and organizations, …Is This Free?responded to a highly visible trend in the development of artistic practices that use free or alternative forms of exchange as forms of distribution, bypassing the art markets and their rules. The program’s inclusion of artwork, ephemera and publications dating as far as the sixties provided a historical frame of reference for the younger artists involved, tracking down the paths of surprising inter-generational trajectories.
Contributing artists included: Lotte Van Den Audenaeren, Becca Albee, Shinsuke Aso, Daniel Bejar, Cody Castro, Carrie Dashow, Detext, Eric Doeringer, Don Edler, Emcee CM, Vikenti Komitski, Cesare Pietroiusti, Daniel Seiple, Elisabeth Smolarz, Radek Szlaga and Honza Zamojski, Elaine Tin Nyo, Julie Torres, Brad Troemel, Jirí Thýn and Patrick Tuttofuoco.