A modest occupation

September 14, 2013 - October 26, 2013


September 14 – October 26, 2013

Highlighting works from more than fifteen national artist-run art subscription programs, this exhibition addresses the intersection of art and economics through the lens of subscription-based art services.

“Artists have long dealt with the problem, question, and opportunity of money (or lack thereof) in myriad ways, by invoking the very same resourcefulness they have applied to making art. They have formed cooperative living and studio arrangements, started their own businesses, become grant-writing virtuosi, begged, stolen, borrowed, and even invented their own currencies. Thinking about one’s own artistic practice as a small business is even more urgent in today’s economy.

There are now a network of artist-driven small businesses that commission works specifically for subscribers, using the models of Community Supported Agriculture or magazine subscriptions. Some are incorporated into non-profits, others are stand-alone businesses for independent artists. Consumers often buy these works sight unseen based on an affinity with the spirit of the business or name recognition of the artists involved. But what about the art? How do we look at artworks made with the consumer in mind? Featuring art subscriptions from across the country, this exhibition considers these works as more than the byproducts of inventive business models. When viewed collectively, they evoke both the spirit of their distribution method and the art behind the network.”  – Abigail Satinsky

Featuring works from: Alula Editions (Bay Area, CA), Art Practical Mail Art Subscription (San Francisco, CA), Community Supported Art Chicago, Community Supported Art Philadelphia, Community Supported Art Minneapolis, The Drop/NOLA (New Orleans), The Present Group (Bay Area, CA), Regional Relationships (Chicago), and The Thing Quarterly (San Francisco, CA).

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, September 14, 6–8pm

A modest occupation Programming:

(e)merge panel discussion
CONNECT: Artists + Community

Presented by The Washington Post
Friday, October 4, 2:00pm
Capitol Skyline Hotel

This conversation with national arts leaders at the (e)merge art fair explores how artists build communities to support themselves in their work. Panelists include: Abigail Satinsky, Threewalls (Chicago, IL); James McAnally, US English and The Luminary (St. Louis, MO); Ryan Frank, The Wassaic Project, (Wassaic, NY); and Margaret Boozer, Red Dirt Studios (WDC). Produced in collaboration with Transformer’s FRAMEWORK Panel series.

Project Dispatch Trade Show
Saturday, October 12, 2-4pm

Chandi Kelley, artist, Founder and Director of the DC based Project Dispatch, discusses the group’s latest project and fundraiser to produce artist trading cards. Meet the artists involved, get your own packs of trading cards hot off the press, trade cards with other attendees, and participate in an autograph session. 

Creative Time Summit Screening
Friday, October 25, 11am – 6pm
Saturday, October 26, 12 – 6pm

Transformer presents a live screening in our space of the Creative Time Summit: two days of innovative presentations, dialogues, and performances by socially engaged artists from across the country. 



image: Eric Fleischauer, Universal Paramount, archival inkjet print, 2011