Response to the Newly Established Agreement for a Standard Wage for Visual Artists

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02.11.2020

UKK – Organisation for Artists, Curators, and Art Mediators has together with ODM (The Association of Danish Museums), BKF (Danish Visual Artists) and DBF (Danish Artists Union) entered into an agreement on recommended minimum remuneration for artists’ exhibitions at museums in September 2020.
UKK recognises the agreement as an important step towards better working conditions for artists in the art field in Denmark. We consider the agreement to be a concrete way of introducing a wage standard, as well as the basis for further unionising and creating solidarity between art workers, when it comes to regulating our wages in the art industry. Here we present our suggested improvements in connection to the further development of this agreement.

UKK suggests that regular meetings between artists, art institutions, and organisations with the museums, art galleries, and the financial decision-makers are arranged, in order to discuss the economy of the art field and the working conditions of artists and curators.

UKK Proposes to Make a Publicly Accessible Index:
Considering the fact that the agreement is so new, it is necessary to draw up a list of the actors in the art scene who have indicated that they are committed to entering into this agreement. The agreement for a standard wage is not legally enforced, and it is up to each art institution to decide whether to enter into the agreement or not. An index that publicly highlights the institutions who enter into the agreement will both give an impression of the scale of the agreement and motivate other institutions to also join. This index will also give artists insight into what they can expect financially, when they are invited to work with a given institution. An example of a similar index is the Dutch remuneration model `Kunstnenaars Honorarium´. 

Statistical Data Based on Documented Feedback from Artists and Art Organisations:
It is crucial that we in the art industry come together to gather statistical data on how and to what extent the agreement is used: 

  • Independent Database:
     It is relevant that data is collected in connection with the remuneration of the art field. In the future, these data could be used as a basis for statistical studies that could help to provide a more complete and empirically substantiated picture of the significance of the introduction of the remuneration agreement for artists’ livelihoods with regards to ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. 
  • Correspondence between the Artist’s Wage and the Cost of Living
    We find it important that the artist wage is evaluated and adjusted every two years. Here, fees should be raised in relation to inflation and cost of living.
  • Developing a Questionnaire:
     We would like to propose that artists and art organisations develop a questionnaire together, in order to gain full transparency. For example: I DO ART Agency is already collecting feedback from the artists about the model in a questionnaire survey.

Further Unionisation:
We will work on making the model increasingly inclusive, so that the majority of the art galleries, self-organised exhibition platforms, freelance curators, and art mediators join the agreement and use it:

  • Collaboration with “Kunsthallerne”:
    It is our aim to get all state-sponsored exhibition venues to accept the agreement now and for them to enter into future negotiations to develop the agreement further. Recently, Kunsthal Charlottenborg announced that they support and will implement the agreement. Therefore, it does not seem unrealistic to draw up a version of the agreement that more ‘kunsthaller’ will be able to join.
  • Acknowledgement and Inclusion of Curators and Art Mediators:
    All art workers are important actors in artistic knowledge, production, and exhibition work, and an important link between different parties in the art field. Most freelance curators have the same precarious economies as artists. The goal of improving the payment and working conditions in the field of art must therefore also apply to freelance curators and art mediators who are not permanent employees of the art institutions.
  • Inclusion of Self-Organised Exhibition Platforms:
    The self-organised field is an important part of the Danish art scene, that possesses essential information for the further development of a broader agreement that will stabilize the economy for the entire art field. In order to gain greater insight into the diversity of the self-organised field and its diverse economic aspects, UKK is, among other things, in dialogue with the newly established association Offspace, which works to create more visibility around the role of the self-organised scene. In the longer term, UKK’s goal is to find a way to an agreement, which will include the self-organised field fully or partially. This agreement should improve the economic working conditions, without shutting down the experimental field of art.

The Agreement for a Standard wage can be found here. The agreement applies to artists based in Denmark and abroad exhibiting in Danish museums. The Agreement for a Standard wage establishes the minimum fee for exhibiting existing works only. It does not cover production of new works. The fee structure in this agreement is relative to the annual visitor numbers per museum. Further details about annual visitor numbers can be downloaded here. We thank our collaborators and look forward to further developing this agreement and the new standard it opens up

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