These are my notes from a lecture by Mark Allen, former founder and director of Machine Project space in Los Angeles (RIP). I took these notes down in longhand in my notebook during the Common Field Convening in Los Angeles, 2017, and have condensed and transcribed them here.
Take your own Documentation!
- Mark Allen spends 20% of budget on documentation!
- institutions won’t necessarily care about same design/aesthetic/shots/etc
- Design and make your own documentation
- you never want to be in a position where you have to ask the institution for access to the documentation!
- how will your work be communicated to the world?
- don’t just accept cultural capital. how will you be paid?
- find scale of budget first. is this $500 or $5000? - for example. Is budget flexible?
- if you have an org, make sure your org gets at least 20% toward your admin
- might be a boss that likes you but their employees might not
- key is be friendly with everyone, meet them, and build those relationships
- make sure people get compensation (money, food, whatever it is)
- these companies/orgs sometimes have a hierarchy of who should get paid, etc. if the institution is not looking out for it, you should advocate for your artists, partners, etc
- you have a power at the beginning of the relationship particularly to advocate for more equitable relationships
- be creative in reaching audience - what is needed? door-to-door? radio? etc
- project doesn’t work for you? bail! :)
- these institutions have legal team - so review contract and make sure to read it and maybe even write your own!
- review the boilerplate legal contracts
- ask for what you want!
- Book: Heather Bin Darcy Bendari’s book - ART WORK - has info on writing and reviewing contracts
- take your time to review the contract
- Alternatively, even create a Memo of Understanding, such as in an email
- “Hey, great meeting today. Just to follow up, here’s what we talked about to do. …….”
- If your deliverables change in course, you may want to revise contract with the institution! and that’s okay
- other idea: what are the things i care about? call those things ‘my artwork’ and include them in the work, potentially even in the display.
Identify what everyone brings to the partnership
- what does the institution want out of this?
- bringing audience? specific press?
- what are the unconscious expectations? let’s get them out on the table
- Be transparent! if you can
- cynically you should consider what an org is trying to get out of the partnership - should you do the project? think about their goals. what would they be getting out of this relationship.