March 24, 2015

Location: Bushwick, Brooklyn

Moderator: Pia Coronel


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  • Do you think your work has the ability to manipulate your audience? If so, how?
  • What compromises do you make in your work?
  • How does thinking about what you're responsible for as a creator affect how you create?
  • What would you consider irresponsible work?
  • What is creative freedom?
  • How does considering responsibility affect creative freedom?

    The second edition of 'responsibility', hosted by Pia Coronel, begins with her describing two types of responsibilities that creators have in regards to their work: the responsibility to oneself and the responsibility to the audience. She cites Leni Riefenstahl and Diego Rivera as two examples of artists that challenge our views of responsibility. Riefenstahl, a Nazi propaganda film maker, may not have exercised enough responsibility toward understanding her own views by promoting the efforts of the Nazi Party. Diego Rivera, on the other hand, may not have considered his audience enough when choosing to portray Lenin in a mural that was commissioned by the Rockefeller Center and later removed. The group unpacks both of these situations and describes how convoluted these examples were in terms of ethics, historical context and authority of the artist. Jen Shepard discusses how many Germans believed in Hitler’s leadership and that Riefenstahl may have also felt a similarly disillusioned way. Dinna Soliman explains the importance of understanding the client when working on a commission basis, in the case of Rivera. Lorenzo Sanjuan talks about how art that functions within a market of selling a product or an idea cannot function as beneficially as work that simply explores an idea. Pia asks what compromises exist within the boundaries of the studio and in a larger context. Christian Berman explains how recent graduates of specific MFA programs have a close correlation to increased gallery representation and that artists have to learn how to play in the boundaries of the art world in order to succeed. We continue to explore the relationship between the responsibility to oneself and to the audience. Farsad Labbauf explains his belief in the maker’s sole responsibility to the work. He explains that once the work is out, it’s not as important of a responsibility to consider how it navigates the world. Jill Hockett challenges his view by saying that it’s not fair to expect the work to affect an audience but not considering an audience’s affect on the work. Pia discusses how responsible work is about challenging yourself and not being complacent. Jen adds that having growth is what marks an artist’s career. She says that when work becomes formulaic or iconic, it functions as a commodity. Dinna refutes her idea by suggesting that perhaps the process has changed despite the work looking similar.