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Carnegie International commits to fair artist pay
Ingrid Schaffner. Photo: Bryan Conley.

PITTSBURGH, PA.- Carnegie Museum of Art announced that the Carnegie Int’l, 57th ed.,2018, has been certified by W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy) as meeting its standards for paying artist fees. The International is the first biennial-style exhibition to become W.A.G.E. Certified. Accordingly, every participating artist or collective will be paid a standard minimum fee, set by W.A.G.E., for providing content to the exhibition.

As curator Ingrid Schaffner says, “Perhaps the most entrenched barrier to greater equity is the idea that art is a privilege. W.A.G.E.’s activism brings recognition to the work artists do—on top of actually making art!—when they provide content for museums and exhibitions.”

W.A.G.E. is a New York-based activist organization which works to draw attention to economic inequalities that exist in the arts, and to resolve them. W.A.G.E. Certification is a national program that publicly recognizes those nonprofit arts organizations demonstrating a history of, and commitment to, voluntarily paying artist fees that meet minimum payment standards. W.A.G.E. launched its certification program in October of 2014 and has since certified fifty organizations across the U.S.

The Carnegie International’s certification marks an important exception to W.A.G.E.’s own rules. In a statement from W.A.G.E., “One of W.A.G.E. Certification’s cardinal rules is that we don’t certify single exhibitions…However, because museums have demonstrated the greatest resistance…we have chosen to bend this rule and approach the reform of large art institutions brick by brick.” W.A.G.E. sees this certification as an important step forward for the cultural field at large: “While this may sound relatively inconsequential, it isn’t. The Carnegie Int’l, 57th ed., 2018’s decision to guarantee evenly distributed remuneration is a rebuke of speculation as a form of payment in the nonprofit sector. It is also an affirmation of art’s value as a common good – one to which both the labor of artists and institutions contribute, and which both must collectively work to maintain.”

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