How to Succeed in the Arts (by Really Trying)

A New York gallerist once took the wind out of my sails by telling me "If you're not trying to make it to the top in this town, then GET OUT OF THE WAY!" Umm, what top? What way? ART*<>@WORK, an exhibition organized by non-profit organization Ignivomous, offers a playful reproach to the sometimes grim, sometimes fruitful relationship between creative process and capitalist aspiration. Occupying an expanse of office space in Midtown Manhattan, ART*<>@WORK includes fifteen artists--one per cubicle--whose installations are open to the public during official "office hours." Writer Tom Moody looks busy at work in his cubicle, but is really representing for the so-called "Bored at Work" network as he dreamily sketches portraits of celebrities and random faces with the Paintbrush.exe program. Cat Mazza recalls less luxurious working conditions with a knitting machine programmed with the web application knitPro to weave corporate logos of sweatshop offenders into clothing. Including new media, performance, sculpture and sound, ART*<>@WORK presents artists whose innovative practices (not just products) prove that working in collaborative, lateral ways can be a more powerful expression of success than shooting solo to the proverbial top. - Lauren Cornell