Non-Participation at Art League Houston, November 20 – January 11

Glad to announce that the second exhibition of Non-Participation is now on view at the Art League Houston.

Lauren van Haaften-Schick
Exhibition dates: November 20, 2015 – January 11, 2016
Opening reception: Friday, November 20, 6-9 PM
ALH Front Gallery I Artist talk at 7 PM

Art League Houston is excited to present Non-Participation, organized by Lauren van Haaften-Schick. Non-Participation is a collection of letters written by artists to decline invitations to participate in cultural events for various political or ethical reasons. In recent years there has been a surge of public protest against highly notable and prestigious art events, including the 2014 Whitney Biennial, The 19th Sidney Biennale, Manifesta 10, and many others. Concurrent with this phenomenon is an increase in attention to artists’ labor rights, as evident in the great interest in Working Artists for the Greater Economy’s W.A.G.E. Certification system, and major conferences facilitating new ways of speaking about art and labor, such as the Art League Houston’s charge practicum. In this moment of encouraging upheaval in the arts, Non-Participation seeks to collect the evidence of these efforts and make visible the key role that acts of refusal and withdrawal might play in introducing reform. In the words of artist Michael Rakowitz, “what an artist refuses is sometimes more important than what he or she agrees to.”

The act of non-participation extends beyond a statement of “no.” It forces a pause or stoppage allowing for the reconsideration of our routine modes of production and of the transactions in which we take part, and leads us to ask why it is that we might feel pressured to say an unqualified “yes.” The activation of non-participation as strategy and method is dually tied to histories of protest as well as creative destruction, wherein the aim is to reveal a new form of production that disrupts the reproduction of the standards in place. As written documents, the letters and statements within this project comprise an archive of pauses, breaks, risk, and non-reproduction. The declaration and inscription of “N-O” remains the foundation, for it ends with an opening.

These letters have been collected through an ongoing open call for submissions, complemented by historical research. Issues raised in these artists’ letters include the non-payment of artists’ fees, the denial of copyright ownership, censorship, and controversy over funding sources, among many others. The submissions received are global in reach, from as far as Australia, the Balkans, to all regions of the US, and include both established and lesser-known artists. At the Art League Houston, this presentation of Non-Participation focuses on letters that challenge labor and economic inequities, in conversation with the second edition of charge. Letters submitted during the exhibition at the Art League Houston will be added to an online archive at Submissions should be sent to

Previous presentations and workshops around Non-Participation have been held in St. Louis, MO, the University of California at Berkeley, the Art League Houston, TX, and in Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark. In the summer of 2014 the first exhibition of Non-Participation was held at the Luminary in St. Louis. The letters are currently being compiled into a book published with Half Letter Press (Copenhagen/Chicago), and will also be collected in an ongoing online archive.

Associate Director, The Art & Law Program, and Call For Applications

I’m pleased to announce that in January 2016 I will join artist and lawyer Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento as Associate Director of the Art & Law Program in New York City. In 2012 I participated in the Program as a curatorial fellow, and have returned many times since as a guest seminar leader. I’m extremely pleased to contribute to the continued growth of the Program and look forward for the exciting developments that the 2016 season will bring.

The Program is now taking applications for the spring 2016 session


The Art & Law Program (“The Program”) is a 13-week seminar series with a theoretical and philosophical focus on the effects of law and jurisprudence on cultural production and reception. An examination of how artistic practices challenge, rupture, and change the apparatus of law completes The Program. The Program consists of a nonpartisan community that aims to attract qualified individuals in the areas of visual art, architecture, writing, curating, and film. This list is non-exclusive. Artists with non-traditional practices are especially encouraged to apply, as are cultural producers interested in the cultural effects of law. The Art & Law Program takes place in New York City from mid-January to early May. In 2016 the Program will hold its seminars at the Triple Canopy space in Brooklyn. Until further notice, please reserve Monday and Wednesday nights, 6-9pm, for these seminars.

Fellows of The Program will meet once a week to discuss readings and visual materials with the Director of the Program, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, curator/art historian and Associate Director of the Program, Lauren van Haaften-Schick; and/or with a guest seminar leader. Seminar leaders assign required readings and present ideas and materials relevant to their areas of practice. There is a particular emphasis on the understanding of legal cases and texts through a close analysis of reading and writing.

Through an analysis of legal structures and modes of thought, the Program aims to critique current artistic, curatorial, theoretical and art historical practices and methodologies. Conversely, the use of law and jurisprudence as theory, practice and medium is explored.

Please note that The Program does not focus on traditional and conventional critical theories (e.g.- Marxism, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, feminism, globalization, etc.), but rather investigates how the philosophy and practice of law disturbs the critical theory establishment and creates a new space and discourse for aesthetic, cultural and intellectual practices.

The Art & Law Program will conclude with an end-of-program retreat at Denniston Hill artist residency.

Who Should Apply? 

The Program seeks qualified, open-minded and self-motivated individuals with a genuine and rigorous attraction to critical thought and debate. In particular, The Program welcomes candidates who are open to controversial dialogue and who seek to challenge their respective practices.

With this in mind, there is no exhibition or paper presentations which conclude the program. Rather, participants are highly encouraged to produce – on their own – a static or non-static material with what is learned, or unlearned, during and after The Program. Please note that the Program is not for everyone. Applicants are encouraged to study and fully understand the mission of the Program and speak with alumni regarding the Program’s structure and expectations of its participants.


The Art & Law Residency, the first residency of its kind, was founded by Sergio Muñoz Sarmientio in 2010. The Program has emerged as a reflection of his experience at Cornell Law School, CalArts, and the Whitney Independent Study Program, and merges or responds to the discourses of each of these spaces. We now look forward to welcoming the seventh class to The Program in 2016.


The Art & Law Program is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a 501(c)(3) public charity. Contributions for the purposes of Art & Law Program are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. If you would like to donate to the Art & Law Program, you may do so online here.

3 Sundays for Robert Seydel and Closing of “Robert Seydel: The Eye in Matter” at the Queens Museum

I’m honored and a bit humbled to be speaking Sunday September 27 at the Queens Museum for the closing of the exhibition “Robert Seydel: The Eye in Matter” at the Queens Museum. I’ll be talking about Robert’s work and the work of Seth Siegelaub, two of my most influential mentors, and two of the most inspiring living libraries…

Many other excellent folks will be presenting too. Thank you to Nathaniel Otting for inviting me.

“Journal Page, 6.10” by Robert Seydel, n.d. from A Picture Is Always a Book: Further Writings from Book of Ruth (Siglio and Smith College Libraries, 2014). © the Estate of Robert Seydel.

“Quail rise”: “R’s Queens” Reprised
ROW / SEW: 3 Sundays for Robert Seydel

“ROW / SEW: 3 Sundays for Robert Seydel” is a series of gatherings of artists and writers to address, to read, to perform, to pay homage to the life and work of Robert Seydel, his alter ego Ruth Greisman, and her friends Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp, et al. to complement the exhibition Robert Seydel: The Eye in Matter. The series is organized by Emmy Catedral with Nathaniel Otting in conjunction with Siglio and Ugly Duckling Presse.

My name & time: a Queens of the mind.
There’s an occult meaning in initials.

“Read in splendour” between these two lines from Robert Seydel‘s Book of Ruth (Siglio, 2011), this restaging of a scene from last year’s Eterniday event features Renee Gladman, Ross Simonini, and Jane Carver. Proceeding from the “occult meaning in initials,” the afternoon includes short readings from (and for) Seydel’s Songs of S (Siglio | Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015) by Stefani Barber, Sarah Wang, Simone Kearney, Shanxing Wang, Sophie Seita, Sarah Jane Stoner, and Simone White. With opening and closing ceremonies by Andre Bradley (on initials) and Lauren van Haaften-Schick (on Seth Siegelaub).

Other events in the “ROW / SEW: 3 Sundays for Robert Seydel” series:

Jul 26: Art a Grammar, Grammar a House: A Gathering (or, Artist-Writers: A Weaving)
Aug 16: Plaid Duchamp Record in Magenta


The Experimental Television Center: A History, Etc – Hunter College 205 Hudson Street Gallery Opening September 24, 7-9pm

The Experimental Television Center: A History, Etc . . .
At the Hunter College 205 Hudson Street Gallery
Opening October 24, 7-9pm

Analog control box documentation, Richard Brewster, 1980. Courtesy Experimental Television Center and the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell University.

Analog control box documentation, Richard Brewster, 1980. Courtesy Experimental Television Center and the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell University.

This summer I contributed to a major archival effort to identify and process materials for this exhibition, and the acquisition of the Experimental Television Center Archives by the Rose Goldsen Library & Archives at Cornell University. Lots of amazing history on artist-run spaces and video art in NY State.

The Experimental Television Center: A History, Etc . . .
September 25–November 21, 2015
Opening: September 24, 7–9pm
Hunter College 205 Hudson Street Gallery 
Hunter College MFA Campus, New York
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 1–6pm

For over 40 years, the Experimental Television Center (ETC) in Owego, New York was one of North America’s preeminent organizations for video art, fostering a community for creativity and innovation through its residency and tool-building programs. The Experimental Television Center: A History, Etc . . . is the first academic survey of the Center’s prolific yet under-recognized role in the evolution of video art. Through works of art, ephemera, and video processing tools, this exhibition maps the ETC’s influence within the larger narrative of the history of video into the digital and internet age. 

From 1971 to 2011, over 1,500 artists participated in the ETC residency program, which functioned as a site for exploration, education, and practice for media artists. This exhibition spans works from the 1960s through the 2000s, including a collection of original analog instruments designed by artists/technologists, as well as two interactive installations featuring contemporary tools designed by Dave Jones, a long-time collaborator with ETC, and Jason and Debora Bernagozzi, founders of the new media organization Signal Culture in Owego, New York.

Organized by: Sarah Watson, Chief Curator of the Hunter College Art Galleries; Timothy Murray, Curator of the Rose Golden Archive of New Media Art; and Sherry Miller Hocking, Assistant Director of the Experimental Television Center. 

The Artist’s Resale Right at Artists Space

The Artist’s Resale Right
Presentations & Discussion

Artists Space Books & Talks
Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 7pm

resale royalty

In light of recent action at the congressional level concerning artists’ resale rights, this event will provide a public forum for discussion around the proposed legislation of secondary market art sales in the US, and will locate these developments in relation to historical and international precedents and alternative models. 

In 2014 and 2015 Congressman Jerrold Nadler (Democrat, 10th District of New York) introduced into congress theAmerican Royalties Too Act, or ART Act, which would grant visual artists a resale right enabling them to collect a percentage of any works re-sold for a profit at public auctions over a value of $5000. While there have been many previous unsuccessful attempts to pass such legislation in the US, this current bill brings with it indications of a potentially different outcome: the Copyright Office recommended in a 2013 report that a federal resale royalty for visual artists should be adopted, this past May the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld portions of the California Resale Royalty Act concerning in-state sales of visual artworks, and this month the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) announced that they will discuss visual artists’ resale rights in December 2015.

In order to stimulate discussion, and to ask what artists and the broader art community might want—or not want—from such legislation, this event brings together speakers from backgrounds in art, art history, and law for a series of presentations and discussions. Dr. Theodore Feder and Janet Hicks of the Artists Rights Society will outline the ART Act and the work they have done lobbying for the bill, followed by curator and art historian Lauren van Haaften-Schick, who will provide a historical perspective concerning artists’ contracts and the legal history of art in the US. These presentations will be followed by a discussion between art dealer Maxwell Graham, artists Hans Haacke and R. H. Quaytman, and Justice Barbara Jaffe, New York Supreme Court, New York County, moderated by van Haaften-Schick.

The evening will conclude with an open floor debate, at which all present are welcome to share thoughts and experiences. Even if the 2015 congressional session does not vote on the bill, or if it fails to pass, the recurrent interest in the issue of resale rights for artists merits greater involvement and consideration of the issue from those who stand to be impacted most—artists.

This event is the first in a series organized by the recently formed W.A.G.E. Artists’ Resale Rights Working Group:
Richard Birkett
April Britski
Maxwell Graham
Leah Pires
Cameron Rowland
Lise Soskolne
Lauren van Haaften-Schick

“What Now? The Politics of Listening,” Art in General in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, April 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 2.10.53 PM

This April I had the pleasure of moderating a panel for the always excellent annual What Now? symposium organized by Art in General and the Vera LIst Center at the New School, New York.

What Now? 2015 examines the idea of listening as a political act, a pedagogical process, and a protocol for engagement. Opening with an analysis of listening, the symposium considers the scientific definition of the term alongside perspectives on listening that are shaped and informed by diverse social, cultural, technological, and spatial considerations. As keynote speaker Lawrence Abu Hamdan has noted, “Listening is not a natural process inherent to our perception of the world but rather constructed by the conditions of the spaces and times that engulf us”.


This panel addresses the slippages between truth and fiction in relation to interpretative listening, media communication, and acts of testimony, translation, or redaction. What is the place of language and translation in this evolving narrative space? Every translation sets into play distinct vocabularies and systems of listening and interpreting, and it is in these encounters that priorities and positions are negotiated. In forensic analysis, for example, how are ideas of truth, testimony, propaganda, translation (or “untranslatability”) played out? In terms of oral histories, why are narratives meant to be listened to rather than read alone, and what is the relative role and importance of accuracy, credibility, and the spinning of truth within this realm?

Moderator: Lauren van Haaften-Schick
Participants: Joshua Craze, Naeem Mohaiemen, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz

Full information on the symposium here.


The legal history of the Siegelaub-Projansky Contract, paper presentation at the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, March 6-7


I’m very pleased to be presenting a paper on the legal history and impact of Seth Siegelaub and Robert Projansky’s “The Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement” at the  Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities.

The conference will be held at Georgetown University Law Centre, March 6-7, 2015.

More information on the conference here.

Gauging the Grey Area at Charge Practicum, Arts League Houston, November 8-9





If you’re in the Houston area, please join me next weekend for the workshops Gauging the Grey Area: A Human Spectrum and Gauging the Grey Area: Quiz Mewith Helena Keeffe, for the Charge Practicum at the Arts League Houston










charge is a two day practicum to 1. platform and convene artist led alternative models 2. open up conversations around equitable compensation of artists and 3. consider artists’ work in the larger economy.

The event will feature a selection of local and national presenters (artists, curators, organizers, and researchers) who have been commissioned to conceive and host discussions, direct actions, lectures, and workshops that explore conceptual, organizational, and economic models of sustaining one’s art practice, engaging critically and generatively within the arts ecosystem as well as with broader communities, and advocating for equitable compensation along the way.

charge will focus on supporting, celebrating, convening and hearing real talk from those who’ve been:

  • Piloting alternative models
  • Experimenting creatively with how to sustain an art practice
  • Intersecting arts and activist communities
  • Actively intervening in current standards and practices of compensation
  • Engaging both critically and generatively in the arts ecosystem
  • Compiling research on how artists’ work ties into the larger economy

Advocacy for equitable compensation of artists and more effective and sustainable models in the arts is nothing new. As Houston’s arts funding policies are currently being rewritten and the city is undergoing a major cultural initiative, an event like this, centered on and starting with the artists is vital in establishing equitable policies for the future.


11:00 – 11:45 AM >>> Laugh Yoga with Tony Day

11:45 – 12:00 AM >>> Welcome, Intro & Coffee

12:00 – 1:00 PM >>> Party Panel Slide Show & Tell Brunch with Michelle Barnes {The Community Artists’ Collective}, Nestor Topchy {TemplO/Zocalo} and Beth Secor {The Effemera Museum}

1:00 – 2:30 PM >>> Early Afternoon Sessions

Session A – How to Frame Pauses, Holism, and Magical Thinking in New Arts Infrastructures: Build Your Own Utopian Artist-Run Project ((lecture/workshop)) with Ayanna Jolivet McCloud {labotanica – Houston}

Session B – Gauging the Grey Area: A Human Spectrum ((workshop)) with Lauren van Haaften-Schick {Non-Participation – New York} and Helena Keeffe {Standard Deviation – San Francisco}

Session C – American Royalty ((discussion/direct action)) with Gabriel Martinez {Alabama Song – Houston}

Session D – Co-dependency Anonymous ((workshop)) with Dawn Weleski {Conflict Kitchen/City Council Wrestling/Bus Stop Opera – Pittsburgh}

2:30 – 3:00 PM >>> Snack Break

3:00 – 4:30 PM >>> Late Afternoon Sessions

Session E – Fishing for Answers ((presentation/discussion)) with Zach Moser {Shrimp Boat Projects/Workshop Houston/The Big Parade – Houston}

Session F – Gauging the Grey Area: Quiz Me ((workshop)) with Helena Keeffe {Standard Deviation – San Francisco} and Lauren van Haaften-Schick {Non-Participation – New York}

Session G – Party Out of Bounds ((presentation)) with Aay Preston-Myint {Chances Dances – Chicago}

Session H – Just Give’em the Loot ((workshop)) with Robert Pruitt and M’kina Tapscott {H.O.S.T – Houston}

5:30 – MIDNIGHT >>> Dinner + Dance Party

VHS Vinylandia by Stephanie Saint Sanchez AKA DJ ESTEFF {Houston}

DJ Flash Gordon Parks {Houston}


11:00 AM >>> Welcome & Introduction

11:15 – 12:45 PM >>> Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) ((lecture)) with Lise Soskolne {New York}

12:45 – 1:00 PM >>> Snack Break

1:00 – 1:45 PM >>> At Any Cost: Economics, Politics, and Value ((lecture)) with Alison Gerber {Yale}

2:00 – 3:00 PM >>> Lunch and Session Shares ((Pecha Kucha lite))

3:00 – 3:45 PM >>> Do What You Love And You’ll Never Work Another Day In Your Life: Economic calculations and political battles ((panel discussion)) with Alison Gerber, Helena Keeffe, Ayanna McCloud, and Zach Moser

3:45 – 4:00 PM >>> Open Floor Q&A Session



The $10 registration fee for charge goes to charge grant. All charge participants will be invited to submit written proposals online byJanuary 4, 2015. The grantee will be selected via online voting by charge participants. The grant will be announced and awarded at a celebration dinner soon after.

charge is co-organized by Jennie Ash and Carrie Schneider and presented by Art League Houston. This event is inspired by Valuing Labor in the Arts: A Practicum presented by The Arts Research Center (ARC) at UC Berkeley.

Non-Participation closing & workshop at the Luminary, August 9

Saturday August 9th will be the final day for my exhibition Non-Participation at the Luminary  in St. Louis.

James and Brea McAnally of the Luminary will host a workshop based on one I presented with Helena Keeffe at UC Berkeley this past spring, Gauging the Gray Area: Standards for Artistic Labor. They will facilitate a workshop and series of discussion prompts and exercises exploring the ways artists’ measure, define, and negotiate their desired terms for their labor.


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