Buff Ross 
Member since Apr 26, 2017


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Re: “The Exposure Myth

Great article and very considered look at a complex situation. Sorry if this comment is longer than actual article just an important topic to me personally. As Mark Sloan mentions in the article, this is conversation that has been going on among artists and gallerists for years. The The Southern's guidelines for non-profits is a great suggestion. I agree with those bullets. To non-profits, be flexible, an artist can always choose to give back their cut if they really have deep commitment to the organization.

I am certainly not trying to defend art auctions or make suggestions to improve them, this article does an excellent job of the latter. The one issue I would like to illuminate though is this isnt then exclusive purview of Visual artists. Graphic designers, developers, accountants, lawyers and many other trades are also approached for pro bono work with an exposure carrot dangled out there (at least for design). Sure that can happen but don't promise it. Charitable decisions should be based on the organization's mission and your commitment to it. It happens with all sorts of services and asks as Angel Passailaigue Postell pointed out in her F&B focused piece last month.

Artists and Gallerists must adopt their own giving guidelines and stick by them. Figure out what organizations matter to you, align with your heart and how much you are willing to help. For certain organizations you might be happy to donate everything and others you might have a % that you are not willing to waiver on and, obviously be willing to say no. Many of us face that same decision on a monthly basis.

Just to clarify one point in the article, the lack of tax exemption is in no way exclusive to artists. People who volunteer their time and expertise believe they have something valuable to offer. So, you may find it distressing that your services, expert though they may be, are worth a tax deduction of precisely zero. This rule is not unique to volunteer work; in fact, it is consistent with other tax laws. With only rare exceptions, the general rule is that you must spend cold, hard cash or give away stuff before you may claim a deduction. That applies to design, legal work, volunteer accounting and pretty much any Service provided. I would offer that is a flaw of the tax system and not a cultural devaluation of art (an excellent conversation for another beer).

Similarly, I would contend that the devaluation of an artists work is not completely cut and dry. The implication and allure of the charity auction is to get a deal and support an organization. If I got a $100 gift certificate for a restaurant for $70, I wouldnt feel empowered to walk in a month later and expect to pay %70 of my bill. That is why the articles suggestion of a minimum and estimated value are very important and should be adopted.

Finally, and if youve made this far, FINALLY, I thought one of the important issues was tucked into the final paragraphs of the article; the increasing economic pressure squeezing young and emerging artists right off of this skinny peninsula. This is an article unto itself and just one of the layers of the complex phyllo dough of gentrification swirling around us.

I did want to highlight that combatting this is the core mission of Redux Contemporary Art Center. We opened our new doors down the street just last night. We now have an larger facility that offers an even greater amount of subsidized studio space for those who face the economic hurdles of creating art in this city. Having living breathing art making here is an integral facet in helping Charleston maintain its diversity and appeal as a living breathing community versus a tourist destination to check off a list.

If you care about this, or hell if you dont, please consider becoming a member, donating, support us and sate your curiosity by coming to the opening events currently being planned. (will link below)

Again, great article and thanks Charleston City Paper for highlighting this issue.

"The most important thing for the creation of art is cheap rent." ~ Charles Bukowski

22 of 22 people like this.
Posted by Buff Ross on April 26, 2017 at 1:53 PM
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