Sometimes you know projects are touching on something important at the time that you are doing them, but then they sort of quietly slide from your consciousness.  Other times projects have a sort of rhizomatic quality to them, growing beneath your feet both in terms of importance and reach.

State of the Arts seems to be one of those projects.  It keeps showing up in unexpected places, hanging out and creating dialogue everywhere it goes.  At the end of last month, down in southern California, it was part of a show and lecture series put on by the graduate curatorial practice students in the Master of Public Art Studies Program at the USC Roski School of Fine Art.

The show description:

The project explores issues of artistic production and labor, and is motivated by a keen awareness of how the current economic situation applies particular pressures on the many connotations of artistic “work.” It is a crucial moment to reexamine the shifting value, both economic and cultural, of artistic labor and to explore the ways in which artists navigate, resist, and reproduce these values. Each of the participating artists in the exhibition implement distinct methodologies for transforming the economic conditions of their artistic activities: from reflections on artistic practice as labor and entrepreneurial venture; to developing practical contracts that enforce artist fee structures; to resisting the speculative art market by offering unlimited multiples; to conceptualizations of artistic service provision, among others. Beyond evidencing economic models, the exhibition aims to reveal the shifts in political and social dynamics that artists face when negotiating the conditions of production, reception, and consumption of art.