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Artist-Run Democracy: Sustaining a Model
Jim Ricks

Artist-Run Democracy: Sustaining a Model Jim Ricks

Artist-Run Democracy: Sustaining a Model Jim RicksArtist-Run Democracy: Sustaining a Model
Jim Ricks


204 pages
168 x 238 mm
ISBN 9789493148734


Off-the-grid from commercial galleries – selling visuals – and canonical institutions – there to support the often static national or regional identities– artists instigate grassroots cultural safe havens in order to deliver the progressive and the experimental. They are fundamentally vulnerable to public-policy cycles, in the voluntary effort that holds the initiative together, in their provision of opportunities, and more. Despite the precarity of such organising by these civil initiatives, and regardless of their promoting of a public cultural vitality beyond the demand of the public life, they are in poor public support and lack opportunities to gain public visibility.

This publication zooms in on a particular mode of organising: on the ‘Artist-run Democracy’. It does so by examining the workings of 126, an Artist-run gallery* in Galway, Ireland, as a benchmark. 126 is particular in the way the board is conceived, how the program is decided upon, how directors change every two year, ‘serving as volunteers’, and more. This model is borrowed from Scottish initiatives, started a decades earlier. Unique to 126 is its remote positioning to the global art market. Close but not closed, they have sustained their project for more than 15 years. This book explores the grounds for this mode of organising within the organised culture of the art sector, and may serve as inspiration and discussion for those committed to organising in the visual arts and beyond.

About the Editor
Jim Ricks is an American and Irish conceptual artist, writer, and curator. He has exhibited throughout Ireland and internationally, including a number of public art projects.

About the Publisher
Onomatopee (founded and directed by Freek Lomme since 2006) is a curating and editorially led public gallery and publisher that is known for their self-initiated and transdisciplinary projects. Onomatopee also hosts the projects of  artist-run and institutional organisations.

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