Titled after the exhibition Utopia Now! at the CCA Wattis in 2001, Bureaucracy Now! references this drive for a better society by:
- Bureaucracy as a medium for individual agency
- Management as self-management
- Bureaucratic engagement as opening a space for debate and negotiation
- The aesthetics of the office reconfigured or re-invented
- Examining how organization occurs, and how it can be co-opted
Art Historical Precedents:
1. Artists utilizing standard bureaucratic practices to create a new space:
- Yves Klein sold zones of immaterial pictorial sensibility for gold, which he would then toss into the Seine while the buyer burned the receipt.
- Sol LeWitt often sold his work as a set of instructions and a certificate of authenticity.
2. Artists commenting on exclusionary or authoritarian modes of practice:
- Marcel Broodthaers created the fictive Museum of Art, Department of Eagles, which featured representations of eagles and financed through gold ingots stamped with eagle insignia.
- Hans Haacke’s Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, A Real Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 exposed the fraudulent real estate dealings of a Board Member at the Guggenheim, where the piece was supposed to show.
3. Artists creating new organizations to function ‘better’ than current ones:
- Artist collaborations and collectives, e.g. the Bureau of Surrealist Research, the Situationists
- Dada Associations such as the detective agency, medicinal department, and advertising department.
- Alternative educational institutions, e.g. Black Mountain College, the Bauhaus
4. Artists as organizers:
- The Art Workers Coalition successfully lobbied the MoMA for among other things better relations towards artists, to take a stance against the Vietnam War, and to institute a free admissions day.
- Andrea Fraser and Helmut Draxler organized Services, a convening of artists and curators to discuss how to protect the artist’s position in the face of art markets and large institutions.