I have been tracking how Canada's art world deeply shapes visual artists' lives.
From making art to going to school, "playing with the big boys," and becoming artists, I have been tracing how artists' on-the-ground and in-the-studio experiences are shaped by organizational processes in the art world.
Here's my latest piece in Ethnography and Education. And here's the abstract:
This research reveals the social relations of the art world through an investigation of visual artists’ ordinary art-making practices. Drawing on extended ethnographic research, the article attends to art and ordinary work, clarifying how visual artists’ work, is not only shaped socially and historically, but also reveals tensions about what counts as art and who counts as an artist. The article clarifies how today’s art world valorises conceptual approaches – centred on mobilising concepts and ideas, while devaluing expressivist approaches – centred on accessing intuition or inspiration. The article makes visible an increasingly conceptual, academic art world in which an expressivist practice is harder to sustain. By tracing shifting forms of work and shifting social relations, the study contributes to educational research on art, while calling attention to organisational processes that deeply shape artists’ lives.
Thank you again to the incredible artists I have connected with and learned from. Thanks also to my mentors, colleagues and anonymous reviewers for pushing my thinking and investing in the project.
The image above is of a painting by Peterborough-based artist Ann Jaeger..