Sunday, April 12, 2015

“Work Hard” at Swiss Institute

"Work Hard" at Swiss Institute

"A group of civic-minded Swiss, established businessmen in the city, came together to assist their newly arrived countrymen with advice, jobs and money. In 1846, ninety-six supporting members formally organized as Swiss Benevolent Society of New York to carry on what they had started."

The Swiss Benevolent Society, still around today, eventually gave original housing to the Swiss Institute, made a home for them in their building for the elderly and indigent, the poor and needy, and therefor artists too, the SI's goal seeming artistically mirrored, giving their countrymen a leg up, a strictly Swiss affair, before being nerfed to today's PR: "provid[ing] a significant forum for contemporary cultural dialogue between Europe and the United States" paid for by mostly Swiss government and businesses - as well as contributions from a few American galleries who of course have artistic overlap, as is the case with Carron and 3 of the galleries providing him solo shows in the last years (though Carron already had a solo at SI in 2006), nothing new to the artworld's corporation/institution symbiosis - to supply and sustain a bastion of "European culture" in the heart of it, corporate art culture. "Dialogue" having become a sort of meaningless PR inkblot whose shape amorphous reflects and is culled by whatever the reader's personal investment, a Rorschach if there ever was one. The mildly conspiratorial air surrounding the Institute and always in vogue curators lay in the difficulty ascertaining where exactly the cart lies in relation to these hottly trotting artists often already appearing to be riding trains to market, questions of who delivering who.

Transcription of an 1862 benevolent meeting's minutes seem fitting:

Four applicants were sent to the Interior.

Three applicants were sent to Europe.

Seventeen and a half tons of coal have been given to 35 applicants.

Three thousand seven hundred and twenty pounds of bread have been distributed.

Nine applicants have received board and lodging.

No word on how many artists distributed.

see too : Chris Ofili at New Museum , Stefan Tcherepnin at Freedman Fitzpatrick