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slant

interviews W.A.G.E.

Dean Daderko preparing a complaint, suggestions, and donation box for W.A.G.E.’s booth at No Soul for Sale: A Festival of Independents, X Initiative, New York, June 22, 2009.

IT’S A CURIOUS TWIST in the history of art that de-skilling—the reduction of the once-hallowed making of art to the level of performing the mundane task of the day—has cut both ways. When Seurat famously said he just wanted to be paid by the hour, he was cannily acknowledging the routinization and commodification of all forms of experience in the advent of modernity, and at the same time attempting to defy bourgeois notions of artistic virtuosity and to undermine the traditional value of art itself. But three-quarters of a century later, amid the birth of institutional critique and the labor movements of the 1960s, the Art Workers’ Coalition would paradoxically marry radical politics with rather conventional economics, at once protesting and embracing the commodification of artistic labor. W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy) has emerged in the wake of

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