3:00 – 4:30 PM
Session F

Gauging the Grey Area: Quiz Me! 
Helena Keeffe & Lauren van Haaften-Schick


Issues surrounding artists labor can be mired in conflicting ideals and realities. Adding humor and play to the equation allows for new approaches to old problems. This workshop will invite participants to consider ideas and tools developed by artists, curators and other cultural producers to combat murky logic and self-destructive habits. Together we will map the grey area and our place within it.

We will begin by looking at Helena Keeffe’s Standard Deviation, a broadside reflecting on the value of artists’ labor. In addition to excerpts from texts related to art and labor, Standard Deviation features a flow-chart that determines whether one should work for free or not, forms of alternative currency, a Request for Funders template, Pablo Helguera’s Artoons, and other provocations.

Next we will discuss, as a group, what major factors go into making decisions about one’s practice and the opportunities artists are presented with. (Attendees who participated in our first workshop will benefit from having already discussed this in relationship to the Spectrogram hypotheticals.) Together we will select five key categories and then break into small groups to generate questions and scored answers which, once tallied, will lead to results in a cosmo-style quiz.

The collectively generated quiz will be printed at the end of the day and shared with all CHARGE attendees on Sunday.

Helena Keeffe is a San Francisco based artist, teacher and cook who brings these identities together in projects that invite others to step along with her into unfamiliar territory. She recently co-organized a workshop-based conference with Shannon Jackson, director of the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley, on the subject of valuing labor in the arts. Keeffe publishes a broadside called Standard Deviation which serves as a platform for aggregating art and labor related texts, thought experiments, flow charts and alternative currencies. Keeffe is the recipient of a Creative Work Fund grant and has created site specific works in diverse contexts including city buses, abandoned phone booths, the Berkeley Art Museum, San Francisco’s Market Street, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Laguna Honda Hospital, the Oakland Museum of California, and the New Children’s Museum in San Diego. Keeffe received a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an MFA from UC Berkeley.  

Lauren van Haaften-Schick is an independent curator and researcher from New York. Her current interests concern critical forms of circulation, and the legal and economic factors that influence the conceptual and material manifestations of art, with a focus on early conceptual art and institutional critique.

Recent presentations and articles include  “Living Labor: Marxism and Performance Studies” at New York University, “Valuing Labor in the Arts” at UC Berkeley, and “Cariou v. Prince: Toward a Theory of Aesthetic-Judicial Judgments,” co-authored by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, and published in the Texas A&M Law Review. Her major exhibition and catalog “Canceled: Alternative Manifestations & Productive Failures,” first exhibited at the Center for Book Arts, NY, in 2012, has traveled to Albright College, Reading, PA, Smith College, Northampton, MA, and The Goethe Institut, New York, NY, among other venues. She is currently completing “Non-Participation,” a collection of artists’ letters of protest and refusal, to be published by Half Letter Press (Chicago/Copenhagen), and first presented at the Luminary Center for the Arts, St. Louis, MO, in June 2014. In 2011 she served as a research and database assistant for the late curator Seth Siegelaub and his work on art law and textile history.i

Additional post-graduate academic activities include the Art & Law Program in 2012, The Gallerist Programme Workshop at de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam, the e-flux Time/Store and the workshop “Market, Alternative” at Trade School, New York. She was a founding director of Gallery TK in Northampton, MA from 2004-2006, AHN|VHS gallery and bookstore in Philadelphia, PA from 2009-2010, and the independent curators group Extra Curricular from 2013 to the present. She received a BA in Art History and Studio Art from Hampshire College in 2006.  She is a PhD candidate in the History of Art and Visual Studies program at Cornell University.


Sesión F
Evaluando el área gris: ¡Pregúntame!
Helena Keefe y 
Lauren van Haaften-Schick

Los problemas que rodean a la labor de los artistas pueden quedar atrapados en un conflicto de ideales y realidades. La inclusión del humor y lo lúdico a la ecuación permite nuevas aproximaciones a problemas viejos. Este taller invitará a los participantes a considerar ideas y herramientas desarrolladas por artistas, curadores y otros productores culturales para combatir lógicas oscuras y hábitos autodestructivos. Juntos trazaremos un mapa del área gris y el lugar que ocupamos en ella.

Comenzaremos observando Standard Deviation [Desviación estándar] de Helena Keeffe, un volante que reflexiona sobre el valor del trabajo del artista. Además de extractos de textos relacionados con arte y trabajo, Standard Deviation presenta un diagrama que determina si debemos o no trabajar gratis, formas de pago alternativas, un patrón para pedir financiamiento, Artoons de Pablo Helguera, y otras provocaciones.

Luego discutiremos, en grupo, cuáles son los factores de importancia a la hora de tomar decisiones sobre nuestra práctica y las oportunidades que se presentan a los artistas. (Los asistentes a nuestro primer taller se beneficiarán de haber ya discutido esto en relación con el espectrograma de hipótesis.) Juntos, seleccionaremos cinco categorías clave y nos dividiremos en grupos pequeños para generar preguntas y anotar respuestas que, una vez revisadas, nos llevarán a resultados al estilo de los cuestionarios de la revista Cosmo.

El cuestionario creado colectivamente será impreso al final del día y compartido el domingo con todos los asistentes a CHARGE.


Helena Keeffe es una artista radicada en San Francisco, profesora y cocinera que combina estas identidades en proyectos que invitan a otros a adentrarse en territorios desconocidos.