Sharing Economy: Art Swap and Project Party / by Nick Ierodiaconou

Another art project that is part of the East festival that explores alternative economic systems is the Art Swap and Project Party, an experiment looking at the value of art. Participants may choose to swap art for art (or something else of value). The aim is for no money to be exchanged, only value for value. The curators are questioning their subscription role by relinquishing it. Artists are being asked directly the question of value, both intrinsic and extrinsic, in choosing to participate (or not) in the exhibition and the art swap. Viewers, too, have their part to play. To acquire an artwork in the swap, they need to assess value without the benefit of gallery endorsement and pricing and determine their own method of payment. The final part of the project is the documentation of the art swap.

“It seems an apt time given the global economic uncertainty, with the acquisition and prices of art falling. Damien Hirst stirred controversy with his statement that “art is only worth what someone will pay for it”. But to those who refute this by saying that art’s value is intrinsic, there is the question of intrinsic to whom? Intrinsic via the institutional subscription process still leads back to the art market, even indirectly through the need for financing. Joseph Beuys said that real capital is not money but people as the sum of creativity of all individuals. This experiment seems one way to test that.”

Art Swap and Project Party, 5 to 12 March 2009, August Art, Wharf Studio, Baldwin Terrace, N1 7RU.