In his book Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (Pluto Press, 2010) New York City based artist, writer and activist Gregory Sholette argues that, “art is big business, with some artists able to command huge sums of money for their works, while the vast majority are ignored or dismissed by critics.” He adds that these marginalized artists are like the art world’s “dark matter,” essential to the survival of the mainstream, but also sometimes angry enough to organize in opposition to it. Sholette will discuss the increasingly precarious economic working conditions faced by contemporary artists, as well as his personal involvement in several influential artists’ collectives including REPOhistory (1989-2000), PAD/D or Political Art Documentation/Distribution (1980-1988), and today with Gulf Labor Coalition who have organized a boycott of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi to call attention to sub-standard labor practices in the United Arab Emirates, and who are now participating in the current Venice Biennale organized by curator Okwui Enwezor.
Gregory Sholette is a New York-based artist, writer and activist. His recent projects include Our Barricades at Station Independent Projects Gallery in NYC, Imaginary Archive at the Las Kurbas Center in Kyiv, Ukraine and at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. He is active with Gulf Labor Coalition and was co-founder of the collectives Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D: 1980-1988), and REPOhistory (1989-2000). His recent publications include It's The Political Economy, Stupid co-edited with Oliver Ressler, (Pluto Press, 2013) and Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture (Pluto Press, 2011). A graduate of the Whitney Independent Studies Program, the University of California San Diego, and The Cooper Union he teaches studio art and social practice at Queens College, City University of New York and is associate faculty at Home WorkSpace, Beirut, as well as at the Art, Design and the Public Domain program of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.