Are You For Sale? Ethical Questions Regarding Economic Justice for Artists

Thursday, April 11, 2024, 5 - 6pm

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Photo by Paula Lobo

Photo by Paula Lobo

The relationship between art making and money has always been fraught. What are the ways that money operates as a value system when we create art and performance works? Where does the money come from and what does it do? What are the underpinnings of the systems of exchange that we are all embedded in? What does it cost us, in every sense, to create our work? As part of the virtual Intersectional Justice Lecture Series, Miguel Gutierrez gives a talk focused on the multi-faceted ways that money shows up in our lives as artists. It will focus on de-mystifying the discourse around money, detailing the logics and limitations of altruism, how budgeting is a blueprint for economic justice, and how to make money decisions about your work from a clear-eyed perspective.

Registration for this Zoom event is required. Register here.

Miguel Gutierrez is a multi-disciplinary dance artist and Feldenkrais Method practitioner living between Lenapehoking/Brooklyn, NY and Tovaangar/Los Angeles. His work creates empathetic, irreverent, and reflective spaces for himself and other QTPOC folx and centers attention as a means to unravel normative belief systems. His performances have been presented internationally in venues such as Festival d’Automne and Centre National du Danse in Paris, Festival Universitario/Bogotá and Barranquilla, ImpulsTanz in Vienna, BiPod Festival Beirut, Fringe Arts/Philadelphia, Walker Art Center, Wexner Center for the Arts, TBA Festival/PICA, MCA Chicago, Live Arts Bard, and in New York at The Kitchen, New York Live Arts, BAM, Danspace Project, Abrons Art Center, The Chocolate Factory, American Realness, and 2014 Whitney Biennial. Recent work includes I as another, which looks at the virtual architecture of memory, and sueño, a bilingual music project of melancholy songs. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award, four NY Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards, and a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award. His podcast Are You For Sale? examines the ethical entanglements between money and art making. In 2024 his writing will appear in Sluts, a debut anthology of queer writers from Dopamine Books, and On Creative Administration from University of Akron press. He is an associate professor of choreography at UCLA in the department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, where he also serves as the vice-chair of the M.F.A. in choreographic inquiry. Miguel is the 2023-2024 New York Live Arts Randjelović/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist (RCA), a program that has lead support from the Mellon Foundation. As the culmination of this residency, he will premiere a new work in Fall 2024 at Live Arts called Super Nothing, a quartet that works with the archive to identify new possibilities for coming together. He holds a B.A. in Theater and Performance Studies/Dance from Brown University and an M.F.A. in studio art from the School of Art Institute of Chicago.

This series is co-organized by the Office of Student Affairs and Nada Ayad, Associate Dean of HSS, as a continuation of a reading and discussion series for first-year students that was held as part of the Fall 2020 new student orientation. In the spirit of The Cooper Union mission, the Black Student Union and the Cooper Climate Coalition, along with several other Cooper students and faculty, were deeply involved in the articulation of the program as well as in contributing to the reading list and suggesting speakers.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.