As we reported in our News Update in early June, EARights were invited by the Swiss Art Council, Pro Helvetia, to ‘Living Room – Focus on the Artists’, a panel discussion event in Basel, held in connection with Art Basel 2019, focusing around the issue of Artist Fees.
Guðrún Gísladóttir, who represented EARights, was joined by three other artists on the panel: Rune Peitersen co-founder of the Platform Beeldende Kunst Netherlands (Platform for Visual Arts) and one of the initiators of the guideline for artists fees in the Netherlands; Josef Felix Müller president of Visarte (Visual Arts Association Switzerland); and Rémi Dufay who is a member of Garage – Groupe d’Action pour la Rémunération des Artistes a Genève. The four artists‘ discussion was chaired by Samuel Shellenberg (journalist and art critic), providing thoughtful questions and facilitating a forum for a genuinely open debate.
Links to brief articles regarding on going work by each of the organisations represented – relating to specific topics discussed at the Living Room event
PBK in the Netherlands
Garage, Geneva, Switzerland
This was a good discussion event, with much debate through the panel and from the audience – each sharing and learning from each other. It has proven vital for artists to discuss the issue of fair remuneration amongst themselves, not least if they form local working groups and also cooperate with their national organisations. We have a common cause. The core problem is, we do not get paid for our work. This needs to be corrected. It is important that artists work together regarding EPR / Fees and that we are not tempted to make deals which undermine our negotiation possibilities.
Each artist spoke about the work they were involved with through their representative organisations and networks: EArights; PBK; Visarte; and Garage. Then a more open discussion cross referenced this individual work with a wider consideration of artist working conditions, other remuneration models, artist resale rights and a wider art market resistance to engage.
An issue that many in the audience mentioned was “how much?”, “what is a reasonable payment for exhibiting”, “what amount is fair”. It is fair to say that the panel agreed that first and foremost we need to discuss agreements, guidelines and contracts. Discuss the different agreement models, find ones that fit, test them, and then the specific money-part will come later. The situation is not only different between countries, but also within the regions of each country. What is reasonable payment in one country might be very far from it in another. Not only can the actual cost of living be very different, but also the tax system.
The word solidarity was used by the group a number of times – that we need to stand together, that we have a common cause. The group agreed to remain connected, work together and share outcomes and methodologies with their networks in the future.