Exhibition: When Artists Opt to Opt-Out

Non-Participation Lauren van Haaften-SchickArt League Houston is excited to present Non-Participation, organized by Lauren van Haaften-Schick.

Non-Participation is a collection of letters written by artists to decline invitations to participate in cultural events for various political or ethical reasons. In recent years there has been a surge of public protest against highly notable and prestigious art events, including the 2014 Whitney Biennial, The 19th Sidney Biennale, Manifesta 10, and many others. Concurrent with this phenomenon is an increase in attention to artists’ labor rights, as evident in the great interest in Working Artists for the Greater Economy’s W.A.G.E. Certification system, and major conferences facilitating new ways of speaking about art and labor, such as the Art League Houston’s charge practicum. In this moment of encouraging upheaval in the arts, Non-Participation seeks to collect the evidence of these efforts and make visible the key role that acts of refusal and withdrawal might play in introducing reform. In the words of artist Michael Rakowitz, “what an artist refuses is sometimes more important than what he or she agrees to.”

Images of the installation may be viewed here.


Lauren van Haaften-Schick

Exhibition dates: November 20, 2015 – January 11, 2016

Opening reception: Friday, November 20, 6-9 PM

ALH Front Gallery I Artist talk at 7 PM

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