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Wisdom

Gaby Cepeda

Curator, Art Writer

Gaby Cepeda is an independent curator and art writer based in Mexico City. She has participated and curated shows in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Lima, Toronto, Berlin and New York. She worries about where technology and power are taking us (non-white people). She previously spoke to TCI about what it means to be a curator.

Is it possible to make art, or curate art, without financial resources? What resources does a person need to make or curate art in 2018?

I don’t think it is possible to make or curate art without financial resources. There’s very little, if anything really, that one can do in 2018, in this world, without money.

Is it possible to make art, or curate art, without financial resources? What resources does a person need to make or curate art in 2018?

Technically you could make art with whatever is around you, trash or your computer, but what will you eat? Where will you rest? What if you get sick? These are things that are necessary to all humans, and most worrisome to those without the resources to have a stable source of them: food, shelter, health care. It is easy to conclude then, that given the value society puts on contemporary art—a marginal interest in something that is helpful to evade taxes and possibly a great speculative investment and or money laundering tool—the people who feel more inclined to produce it and dedicate their full-time working hours to researching it and curating it would be people who already have a reliable access to comfort, for whom art represents no risks beyond an eye-roll at a family dinner. This, of course, means people of certain geographical areas, income, class, race, and gender. That a lot of people in the art world work for free or in so-called “friendship economies,” shouldn’t be thought of as idealistic or romantic. It’s hard to find anything romantic about unpaid labor and unmet basic necessities. And, of course, the people who do the most free labor are the people from the peripheries, women and queer people, those without an in with the wealthy, well-bred, Ivy League, Bard or Goldsmith’s crowd.

Is it possible to make art, or curate art, without financial resources? What resources does a person need to make or curate art in 2018?

I think a good curator today has to gauge their power. Where does it reside, why does one have it, what’s the work behind it, and on whose back is it built? One must share that power with those without it, share or give up our space for those who have none or little. And if one finds oneself without any power, I think in 2018, one has to fight to get some, to not let inertia win, to not let more of “the way things have always been” get any more space, seats, and opportunities that it already has. To fight mediocrity, perhaps.

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