The RCAC's recent study, Above Ground: Information on Artists III: Special Focus New York City Aging Artists, revealed that artists are in many respects a model for society, maintaining strong social networks and an astonishing resilience as they age. Yet 61% of professional visual artists age 62+ have made no preparation for their work after their death; 95% have not archived their work; 97% have no estate plan; 3 out of every 4 artists have no will and 1 in 5 have no documentation of their work at all.
Vital works of art, and the creative histories that comprise an important component of American cultural heritage, are imperiled by the lack of a functional, sustainable model for documentation. While art students may ponder their first exhibition or sale, most graduate-level curriculum lacks instruction in long-term concerns such as the proper documentation of artwork.
Art Cart will address these challenges by providing aging artists with direct, hands-on support and guidance to manage and preserve their life's work, and by providing students with an intergenerational, educational experience and mentorship in the documentation of artistic legacy. Over the course of an academic year, several teams of students, each working with a single visual artist, will document a substantial number of works - collecting both high-quality digital images as well as relevant historical, biographical, and artistic background information. Their work will be guided by standards and tools developed by the Research Center and the Joan Mitchell Foundation.
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