015 — Do-it-yourself institutions for the working artist. Building networks like rich people. Befriending the market and its conditions.
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In the previous issue, research director Wyatt Coday shared some intimate feelings about practice and working through painful impasses. “When I practice, and specifically when I fail, that self-love activates, and I remember that I have succeeded in carrying countless humiliations into a space where they can be given form, made useful, and take on a weight of their own. Such humiliations are my instruments, and it serves me to ensure they remain finely tuned.”
— PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE —
IS MY BODY MEANT TO BE READ?
Questioning the Studio Practice in the Post-Institutional Era
August 21 – September 1
ALL SESSIONS VIA ZOOM
2pm - 4pm ET, Monday through Friday
NOR Research Studio is excited to announce the inaugural session of its summer intensive, IS MY BODY MEANT TO BE READ?, will be held from August 21 through September 1.
The intensive features guest appearances from art critic Rahel Aima, Dirt Media CEO Daisy Alioto, curator Alex Jones, artist Coco Klockner, Paper Monument cofounder Dushko Petrovich Córdova, collector Felipe Núñez, artist-gallerists Matt Morris and Eric Ruschman, and filmmaker Em Weinstein.
Structured as a two-week bootcamp, the intensive invites participants to use the last month of summer to build infrastructure for their creative practice while engaging in countermarket insurgency — organized economic activity that aims to accrue and mobilize social capital.
Working as a research group, participants will revamp their portfolios, start newsletters, create digital publications, assemble a business plan, and develop accountability practices that transform their creative labor into a functional business entity. To complete this goal, they will review and evaluate sample projects before making their own and soliciting feedback from their peers.
Throughout the intensive, the studio will provide templates, checklists, and additional office hours to ensure participants walk away with an updated and savvy web presence. Participants may choose to enroll for the full intensive, half of the intensive, or in individual sessions.
The intensive will meet Monday through Friday for two hours each day— specific dates and times are listed below. Open office hours will be held on Wednesdays. Participants are invited to purchase discounted individual consultations sessions as well.
Full Session Plus
$750 — Full attendance to the intensive plus 5 hours of editorial and development support. Includes development documents.
$300 — Full attendance to the intensive. Includes development documents.
$200 — Attendees select five sessions to attend. Does not include development documents.
$75 — Individual tickets to sessions. Does not include development documents.
Close observers of the creative industries understand that coordinated social networks hold and shape the distribution of power within them. At the center of these networks, wealthy individuals cycle money among themselves, frequently using legal structures that grant them special privileges, such as nonprofit foundations, to create everlasting batteries of wealth.
Through this concerted activity, and using artwork, these individuals pursue common political and financial goals. From this vantage, the museums that offer artists exhibitions, grants, and cash awards don’t do so out of the kindness in their heart. Rather, board members isolate opportunities to line their pockets, expand their collection, and manage their investments while intensifying the flow of social capital within their institution’s remit.
To that end, the museum and entities like it propagate the value of artwork owned by or associated with the individuals at their helm. Having access to talented artists expedites this process and gives the networked activity a veneer that many uninformed viewers — including artists themselves — mistake for public good. Moreover, this networked financial operation depends on the artworks in question having no real material, discursive, or political components. Or worse, having their political potency reduced to promotional messaging.
In a recessive economy, such networked arrangements present a considerable impasse for the working artist who does not have access to the upper echelons of high society. To the wealthy collecting class, gambling tens of thousands of dollars is comparable to losing $50 when you make $500,000 — and this a hedged assessment. Either way, even if a sale occurs, and even if that work accrues more value, the scale tilts in one direction and one direction only: away from the artist.
At the same time, the institutional dance is one that depends on coordinated social activity. So, how can artists support themselves when they have not yet been invited to the party? Especially if it’s a party they’re not particularly keen on attending? Moreover, if they belong to a group considered untouchable to the collecting class?
NOR Research Studio proposes an experiment: become the network, move in tandem as a group, be strategically interdependent, and most importantly permit yourself to be selfish. In the art game, it’s impossible to win, but that doesn’t mean that there has to be losers.
What can be gleaned from the happenings and performance art of the previous generations presents a clear thesis about the role of attention in the art market. If several people look at the same object or experience for the right amount of time, that constitutes a meaningful event — something to be reported on and fascinated over.
With digital media functioning as the gateway between artists, audiences, and institutions, our first foray with focus on digital assets like web portfolios as well as the infrastructural decisions that must be made to effectively launch, maintain, and update such a site. From there, we will explore the wide-ranging implications of “entification” — when the artist creates a shell entity through which to identify, interrogate, and ultimately sell their work.
With these conditions in mind, IS MY BODY MEANT TO BE READ? presents a three-part thesis.
- BODY AS BODY
We must acknowledge the individual human body of the artist-creative and identify the ideological, market pressures placed on that body, which inevitably shape their creative practice but also influence — for better or worse — the financial value of their work. Instead of submitting to these forces, IMBMTBR suggestions means for manipulating these pressures toward productive ends.
- BODY AS ENTITY
We must acknowledge that the digital world and the identities we maintain there are often the only means for artists to reach an audience outside their immediate sphere. Instead of resisting the digitization of the artistic enterprise, IMBMTBR proposes that we exploit the noise and pollution of the web to create online grottos, temples, watering holes, gardens, and shrines that permit like-minded individuals to gather and produce networks where social capital and money are strategically circulated. Instead of these spaces being dedicated to developing or hosting communities, they will instead receive guests and build rapport with regular visitors — whether those be admirers, collectors, collaborators, or curators.
- ENTITY AS BODY
We must acknowledge that the corporate system present in capitalist economies have their roots in deeper, millenia-old practices that relate to the creation and preservation of value. IMBMTBR holds that there can be no equity in a capitalist system so long as the means to create, structure, and maintain these entities remain obscure. Moreover, it contends that artists are particularly well-suited to exploit the legal infrastructure provided to those engaged in business enterprise.
August 21 / 2pm ET
← The Body of Work / Wyatt Coday
← Artist as Entity
← The Portfolio I
August 22 / 2pm ET
← Artist as Curator / Matt Morris
← Artist as Gallerist / Eric Ruschman
← The Portfolio II
August 23 / 2pm ET
← Artist as Researcher / Wyatt Coday
← Research as Body
← Portfolio III
August 24 / 2pm ET
← Artist as Publisher / Dushko Petrovich
← The Chapbook
← Grants I
August 25 / 2pm ET
← Watercooler Discussion
← The Essay I
← Grants II
August 28 / 2pm ET
← Artist as Media Company / Daisy Alioto
← Business Plan I
August 29 / 2pm ET
← Curator as Institution / Alex Jones
← Artist as Critic / Coco Klockner
← Artist as Institution, Institution as Entity
← Business Plan II
August 30 / 2pm ET
← Critic as Critic / Rahel Aima
← The Essay II
← Business Plan III
August 31 / 2pm ET
← Collector as Collector / Felipe Núñez
← Entity as Artist
← Business Plan IV
September 1 / 2pm ET
← Artist as Advocate / Em Weinstein
← Digital Media
← Business Plan V
RAHEL AIMA is an art critic, writer and editor based in Dubai. Her writing has appeared in 4 Columns, Artforum, Art in America, Artnews, ArtReview, The Atlantic, Bidoun, Bookforum, e-flux architecture, Frieze, Garage, Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia, Mousse, New Republic, Real Life, Rest of World, Tank, Vogue Arabia, and World Policy Journal, among many others. She regularly contributes exhibition texts, catalogue essays, and book chapters. In 2018, she received an Arts Writers Grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation. Currently, Aima is an associate editor at Momus.
DAISY ALIOTO is the CEO of Dirt Media. She has a decade of experience in audience development for companies such as Time Inc., Condé Nast, HODINKEE, Air Mail, First Look Media and New York Magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic and more.
WYATT CODAY is intersex and autistic. She lives in Los Angeles, where she founded NOR RESEARCH STUDIO with Evan Kleekamp in 2017. She named herself its sole Research Director in 2023 and absorbed the DBA entity as one of her several aliases. Her work spans legal interventions, essays and contemporary folk tales, unorthodox disability accommodations, lecture-performances, and photography. In 2021, Coday received an emerging artist grant for the California Arts Council published and 4 INSTRUMENTS, an excerpt from her unpublished novella, with Apogee Graphics. Nightboat Books anthologized another excerpt in WE WANT IT ALL: AN ANTHOLOGY OF RADICAL TRANS POETICS (2021). Her writing has appeared in The Avery Review, Open Space (SFMOMA), X-TRA, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and her sculpture and photography were included in Red Wedding at RUSCHMAN in Chicago. Her research interests include: disability, psychoanalysis, common law, transitive painting, the lecture-performance, and kitty cats.
ALEX JONES is a curator and art historian based in Los Angeles. Currently, he is a research assistant in Modern and Contemporary Collections at the Getty Research Institute, and works with Getty’s African American Art History Initiative. His work merges curatorial practice with an academic background in African American art history and English. Jones has given public presentations on topics such as Civil Rights-era photography and has presented his research on Blackness and contemporary portrait photography.
COCO KLOCKNER is an artist and writer based in New York. She is the author of K-Y (Genderfail Press, 2019) and her essays have appeared in Texte Zur Kunst, Spike Art Magazine, *Real Life, and Disclaimer/Liquid Architecture. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Silke Lindner, New York (2022); Bad Water, Knoxville, Tennessee (2023); and The Anderson, Richmond, Virginia (2019).
FELIPE NÚÑEZ oversees International Acquisitions and Co-Productions at Hulu. Previously, he was a member of the Corporate Strategy team at MRC, the independent studio behind Knives Out (2019) and The Great (2020). Núñez started as an assistant and grew into roles supporting film and television greenlighting and M&A integrations. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Harvard Business School, he is an avid lover of art, and has collected works from artists like Math Bass, Anne Collier, and Alex Prager.
DUSHKO PETROVICH CÓRDOVA is a writer, artist, and editor whose practice moves freely between images and words, stemming from his exploration of methods of communication and questioning their conventions. He is the cofounder of Paper Monument, a contemporary art journal turned publishing company that has released numerous critically-acclaimed and bestselling books, including Draw It with Your Eyes Closed: The Art of the Art Assignment; Social Medium: Artists Writing 2000-2015; and Best! Letters from Asian Americans in the arts. Petrovich also produces work under his personal imprint, DME; past projects include Adjunct Commuter Weekly and The Daily Gentrifier. Petrovich’s work has been shown in exhibitions throughout the US and Europe, including at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Rachel Uffner Gallery in New York, Gallery 400 in Chicago, Charlottenborg Museum in Copenhagen, and Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw. He has also written about art and visual culture for multiple publications including n+1, Bookforum, Art in America, ArtNews and the Boston Globe. Petrovich previously taught at Yale University, Boston University, and Rhode Island School of Design, and was the Director of Communications and Publications for FRONT Triennial in Cleveland, Ohio.
MATT MORRIS is a dedicated polymath based in Chicago whose practice incorporates work as an artist, perfumer, writer, curator, and educator. Painting, fragrance, and textile-based installations serve as tools for inquiry into the psychological, historical, and social valences of femininity, repression, fashion, and the political realities of subjecthood. Morris has presented artwork internationally including Andrew Kreps and Tiger Strikes Asteroid, New York; RUSCHMAN, Berlin, Germany; Netwerk Aalst, Aalst, Belgium; Krabbesholm Højskole, Skive, Denmark; The Suburban, Milwaukee, WI; DePaul Art Museum and Queer Thoughts, Chicago, IL; Mary + Leigh Block Museum of Art, Evanston, IL; Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL; and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH. Morris contributes to Artforum, Art Papers, ARTnews, Flash Art, Fragrantica, Sculpture, The Seen, and X-TRA with additional writing appearing in numerous exhibition catalogues and artist monographs. Chapters of Morris’ writing were included in the anthologies Olfactory Art and the Political in an Age of Resistance (Routledge, 2021) and Atem / Breath (De Gruyter, 2021). Morris is a transplant from southern Louisiana who holds a BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and earned an MFA in Art Theory + Practice from Northwestern University, as well as a Certificate in Gender + Sexuality Studies. In 2017, Morris earned a Certification in Fairyology from Doreen Virtue, PhD. Morris is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
ERIC RUSCHMAN is the founder of RUSCHMAN and RUSCHWOMAN in Chicago. In 2023, Ruschman was one of the Chicago galleries highlighted on the David Zwirner powered online project PLATFORM. Ruschman serves as an advisor for numerous private collections, and regularly offers workshops and introductory talks that demystify the beginning steps for new art collectors in corporate business settings, for special interest groups, and in partnership with arts organizations. He has previously organized exhibitions in Berlin, Mexico City, Los Angeles, at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, and at The Green Gallery, Milwaukee. He has also curated for Circle Contemporary, the gallery attached to Arts of Life, where he also sits on the executive board. Ruschman has been a contributor to New Release Gallery's The Decameron series and a guest on the art world podcast This Moment Here. He was previously the director of Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago.
EM WEINSTEIN is an award-winning writer/director for television, film, and theater. They recently directed four episodes of season three of The L Word Generation Q, and their short film In France Michelle is a Man’s Name has won two Academy Award Qualifying Grand Jury Prizes for Best Narrative Short at Slamdance (2021) and Outfest (2020) as well as Best US Short at The 2021 San Diego International Film Festival. Weinstein has developed and created work for theater companies such as Rattlestick Theater, New Georges, the 52nd Street Project, New York Theater Workshop, Shakespeare & Company, The Prototype Festival, Collaboraction, Working Theater, En Garde Arts, Two River Theater and the National Queer Theater. They graduated summa cum laude from Smith College and received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
GRANT WORKSHOPS AND SEMINARS
HOW TO COMMUNICATE IN WHITE PEOPLE
GRAHAM FOUNDATION EDITION
July 22, 2023 – September 9, 2023
Please note: During this time, our grant workshops will cumulatively focus on the Graham Foundation’s individual applicant cycle.
Every Saturday from July 22, 2023 until September 9, 2023 NOR Research Studio will host a series of HOW TO COMMUNICATE IN WHITE PEOPLE grant writing workshops with a unique twist. In addition to preparing participants to apply for an individual grant through the Graham Foundation, the workshop-seminars will read against the grain of the foundation’s requests and use the criteria it upholds to shape, evaluate, and strengthen grant and project proposals across the creative industries. Participants who are interested in learning about grants or improving their grant proposals are encouraged to attend even if they don’t plan to submit a letter of inquiry to the Graham Foundation.
The deadline to submit letters of inquiry to the Graham Foundation is September 15, 2023.
Per our ongoing practice, the studio will develop an application that it will share with applicants to model best practices and demonstrate how to, in this instance, center architecture in a project where architecture may only have a secondary role. You can find the workshop and seminar programming schedule here.
Individual workshops in the series are $50 apiece. Participants who enroll in all eight Graham Foundation workshops ($400) will receive access to our searchable database that provides additional information about past projects that have received funding — namely how much money they received and used — for the duration of the application cycle as well as 5 hours of editorial support and consultation.You can find more information about the programming here and individual tickets here. The Workshop and Database Bundle can be purchased here.
WANT US TO WRITE YOUR GRAHAM FOUNDATION LETTER OF INQUIRY? Email us or schedule a free consultation.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE IN WHITE PEOPLE is a counter-institutional grant workshop that demystifies how artist-creatives can exploit grants to their own ends. Organized into recurring 90-minute sessions, the workshop is conducted in an open-inquiry format where participants have the opportunity to review sample proposals that have received institutional recognition, compare dummy applications, or receive feedback on their own proposal materials.
WYATT CODAY is intersex and autistic. She lives in Los Angeles, where she directs NOR Research Studio.
IS MY BODY MEANT TO BE READ? is a two-week intensive meant to prepare artists for the coming year. This session will focus on developing portfolio sites and similar digital presences.
NOR RESEARCH STUDIO is a design research studio that develops didactic media, exhibitions, publications, and other forms of intellectual property for artists, nonprofits, and creative businesses.
If you’re an artist or creative trying to stabilize your practice, we want to work with you. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation here. You can also fill out this intake form, which makes for a great self-reflexive diagnostic tool. Feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to trade notes.