Who is InCUBATE?
What is OTHER OPTIONS?
Why a traveling exhibition?
Where will OTHER OPTIONS travel to?
Why OTHER OPTIONS?
When we founded the Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and The Everyday (InCUBATE), one of our initial goals was to explore the technical intricacies of the two major financial models used to support artistic production in the Untied States today - for-profit and non-profit corporations, yet soon it became clear that neither model was appropriate to our interests. In the United States, the ability to fund artistic and cultural endeavors is becoming increasingly more complex and problematic, especially since the "Culture Wars" of the early and mid 1990s halted a system that upheld challenging contemporary art and legitimized innovative artists in the eyes of many private foundations. Today, the competition for funding from both public and private sources is quite fierce. Such competition obligates arts organizations and individual artists to divert both time and energy away from creative processes in order meet financial obligations via the courting and cultivating of state granting agencies, private foundations, wealthy individual donors, etc. - yet even so, the risk of failure for non-profit arts organizations is increasing at an alarming rate. Through our research and continual experiences with traditional and experimental funding strategies, it becomes more and more obvious how directly connected these systems are to the ways in which we organize our everyday lives. These structures inform where we choose to live, how we choose to live (rent, own, squat), the foods we eat, what we buy, what we talk about, what we sell, etc.
In an attempt to better understand the economic concerns of contemporary artistic and cultural production, we at InCUBATE are not interested in earning money from the sale of artwork, nor do we see a need to adapt bylaws, form a board of directors, and adhere to inflexible principles of financial organization; principles which may ultimately serve to inhibit creativity. As an organization, we are committed to remaining open to new possibilities; this commitment lies at the heart of our practice. We are interested in developing work patterns that are capable of circumventing many of the commonly held truisms of non-profit management, especially the incessant desire for organizational growth, as well as the notion that institutional success can and should be measured quantitatively. Unlike typical 501(c)3 corporations, we do not feel the need to uphold and adhere to a unilateral mission, as such a restriction would only hamper our will to creativity and our ability to conduct fruitful experimentation within the field of arts administration. Instead, we are interested in allowing our practice to blend with other existing infrastructures, operating either in tandem with them, or perhaps more autonomously should the need arise. The goal of such insertion and blending is to render the underlying mechanisms of today's institutions more transparent and therefore available to critique. We at InCUBATE believe that the spectrum by which artistic and cultural production can be organized goes far beyond the limitations currently set in place by the popularized and polarized models of for-profit and non-profit incorporation. Developing the tactics and implementing the strategies necessary to create and sustain new channels for art and culture does not require large amounts of seed capital -- courage, ingenuity, integrity, and intelligence are all that is needed.
Who is InCUBATE?
InCUBATE is a working group and research institute made up of three individuals who are interested in challenging current infrastructures that affect artistic production and other aspects of everyday life. As art historians and arts administrators, our goal is to explore the possibility of developing models that could be relevant to contemporary art institutions, as well as collective or individual artist projects working outside an institution. This initially began with looking at financial models in particular. Through a combination of research, developing new theories and then implementing and practicing these new ideas - we are continually expanding our scope of interest, working through a generative process from project to project. InCUBATE's research directly relates to our practice. As we learn more about different types of other options we attempt to transpose their theoretical approaches onto our situation. Other Options allows us to simultaneously share our research, highlight exciting and inventive projects addressing issues of support and infrastructure, as well as continue our research.
What is Other Options?
On Oct. 19th, InCUBATE opened an exhibition, which was the first in the series of Other Options. Its primary premise is too look at artists and artist groups that are re-interpreting, altering and creating infrastructure that affect their everyday lives and more specifically their artistic practice. The most visible of these infrastructures being funding models - 501c3 being the most typical framework for foundation and charitable giving. We realized that we narrow our research to monetary funding structures, there are many other models which accomplish the same goals that can't be tracked by an economy based on the transaction of quantifiable capital. For this reason, we wish to highlight both the exemplary practices that deal directly with ideas of monetary currency and charitable giving such as Josh Greene of San Francisco's Service-Works, and projects that engage other means of surplus and distribution of resources beyond the strictly economic to discuss institutional frameworks of support, such as Civic Studio in Grand Rapids.
Why a traveling exhibition?
This is not a typical traveling exhibition. The exhibition travels to cities which are home to projects we have identified as being other options. Each iteration of Other Options is different, yet one thing remains the same - it always features a local project, thus giving an audience familiarity and access point to understand other projects featured in the exhibition. Additionally, as the exhibition travels it creates a simultaneous network of similar practices dealing with issues of infrastructure and support for cultural production.
Where will OTHER OPTIONS travel too?
Chicago, IL: Oct. 19 - Nov. 14 2007, Alogon Gallery
Grand Rapids, MI: Jan. 11 - Feb. 15 2007, Calvin College, (106) Gallery
Pittsburgh, PA: April 11 - May 9 2008, TENT Show
Syracuse, NY: June 19 - August 21 2008, The Redhouse
New York, NY: Sept. 19 - Oct. 11 2008, Eyebeam
(more destinations TBA)