Caroline Woolard “What is a work of art in the age of $120,000 art degrees?”

The Department of Art Practice’s Wiesenfeld Visiting Artist Lecture Series and the UC Berkeley’s Center for New Media’s Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium present:

Caroline Woolard

“What is a work of art in the age of $120,000 art degrees?”

January 26, 2015, 7:30-9:00pm
*Note location:
The David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

Lectures are free and open to the public.

CORRECTION: Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. The venue recommends arriving at 7pm – the doors will open at 7:15. There is a lot of interest in this event, and seating is limited. We are sorry to say that all previous reservations are invalid and should be disregarded.


Often legitimized by its relationship to elite institutions of higher education, a work of art in the United States today is a product of the classroom, the loan repayment, the lecture-hall, and the homework assignment. But before the 1950’s, becoming an artist had nothing to do with a BFA or an MFA. As Mark McGurl points out in The Program Era, what is novel about our time is not that it’s hard to make a living as an artist (that has always been the case), but that so many young people go to school, and often to expensive art schools, to try to become artists.

What are the implications of debt, rent, and precarity on culture in the 21st century? This talk presents recent findings about the poverty rates, rent burdens, and actual occupations of artists by BFAMFAPhD, as well as the power of solidarity art economy institutions to reproduce artists and art works that embody principles of cooperation and justice. Outlining the contradictory ways in which artists navigate solidarity economies within capitalism, the talk is an encounter with mutual aid networks, open source software, and community land trusts.

Caroline Woolard graduated from the only tuition-free art school in the United States with a strong commitment to the solidarity economy movement and to conceptual art. After co-founding and co-directing resource sharing networks and for the past five years, Woolard is focused on to raise awareness about the impact of rent, debt, and precarity on culture and on New York City.