Recent Articles
INTERVIEW: Echo He, co-founder of N95forN
Q&A
INTERVIEW: Echo He, co-founder of N95forNYC
Genesis Tramaine Artspace Edition Debuts at UNTITLED, ART
Artist to Watch
Genesis Tramaine Artspace Edition Debuts at UNTITLED, ART
5 Great Pieces To Bid On in the Together In Distance Auction
Investment Pieces
5 Great Pieces To Bid On in the Together In Distance Auction
What to Say About Your New Robert Longo Print
Living With Art
What to Say About Your New Robert Longo Print
News Of A Very Special Auction
Investment Pieces
News Of A Very Special Auction
10 Questions for LatchKey Gallery co-founders
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for LatchKey Gallery co-founders Natalie Kates and Amanda L. Uribe
INTERVIEW: Elmgreen & Dragset
Meet the Artist
INTERVIEW: Elmgreen & Dragset 'What We Need to do, As Cultural Workers Today, Is to Find a New Way of Getting Back Our Dignity as Citizens'
10 Questions for RESORT Gallery co-founders Seth Adelsberger and
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for RESORT Gallery co-founders Seth Adelsberger and Alex Ebstein
10 Questions for River Gallery Founder Carl E. Smith
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for River Gallery Founder Carl E. Smith
10 Questions for Davis Editions and Originals Founder Jeff Davis
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for Davis Editions and Originals Founder Jeff Davis
10 Questions for Baby Blue Gallery Founder Caleb Beck
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for Baby Blue Gallery Founder Caleb Beck
10 Questions for Carvalho Park's Jennifer Carvalho
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for Carvalho Park co-Founder Jennifer Carvalho
The Making of Love, Rihanna: Luxury Supreme
Close Look
'A Piece of Art That I am Really Proud Of' - Rihanna on Love, Rihanna: Luxury Supreme
INTERVIEW: Sterling Ruby
Meet the Artist
INTERVIEW: Sterling Ruby 'In America, often the response to negative aspects of the system is to retreat to platitudes about morals and family values. In this way nothing is achieved.'
INTERVIEW: Kerry James Marshall
Meet the Artist
INTERVIEW: Kerry James Marshall 'I never think of artworks as having a quality that’s intended to mobilize people to action. They don’t make people do things. But they do put questions in the mind of a viewer that they may not have entertained before...'

Exhibitions

Sara Greenberger Rafferty Puts Artists to "Work"

By

Glasses get added to the painting at the center of "Work."
Glasses get added to the painting at the center of "Work."
Kate Shepherd adds to a canvas.
Kate Shepherd adds to a canvas.
The finished product at Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery.
The finished product at Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery.

Artists aren't generally known for their teamwork skills, but last Wednesday the 14 artists who agreed to be part of Sara Greenberger Rafferty’s experimental “Work” show at Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery arranged themselves like an assembly line, passing canvases around the room while Donna Summer's “She Works Hard For the Money” played in the background. It was one of two eight-hour shifts that Rafferty, who most people know for her own photographic work rather than her aptitude as a hard-driving foreman, oversaw at the Lower East Side gallery to mass-produce a work of art.

Day one took place last Tuesday, when the artist team did test-runs on a few canvases, each artist contributing one gesture to the work that responded to the one before it. The artists then voted on which one would be collaboratively churned out as finished pieces the next day.

Rafferty, who organized the project once before at the Ox-Bow School of Art, did not expect their choice: a figurative work of a man wearing red glasses, with vivid color abstractions behind him. By drawing lots they determined the order of the steps, each handled by a different artist, for the production on the following day. They also decided on a pricing structure of $250 per painting. 

"I think that number is just as arbitrary as any," Rafferty said in the gallery on Tuesday. Each artist would make roughly $10 on royalties for a sale. The project, she explained, was less about the art or sales than about structure and, well, work.

For the first step, Yuri Masnjy painted a black abstract form that took up most of the white canvas; Joanne Greenbaum then added multicolored pencil-drawn lines midway through the process; and Kate Shepherd painted black details with a thin paintbrush.

“It’s hard with so many personalities and so many accomplished artists—no one is particularly happy with this or that, but we’ve all kind of given ourselves over to the project," Rafferty said. "It speaks about collaboration and value and work. Installing the show will be the last thing to give it meaning. So it’s really an experiment in the true sense of the word.”

Rafferty herself was number 12 in the process. "I'm insulting the paintings, and then putting a Band-Aid over where I insulted them," she said of her contribution, a move that she found excitingly different than her normal practice.

At the end of the day, 50 completed paintings were hung in a grid, taking up nearly all of the gallery's wall space. But the mass-production approach made for a few surprises. The portrait of the cartoonish man in the center of the composition morphed into something different each time around: into a cat, a woman, and, not least, a likeness that looked a lot like Rafferty herself.

DISCOVER

a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.

LEARN

through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.

BUY

authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.

CONNECT

with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.

INSIDER ACCESS TO THE WORLD'S BEST ART

Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.

  • COLLECT FROM 300+ GALLERIES & MUSEUMS