From: Fred Camper (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Apr 07 2009 - 08:43:30 PDT
Thomas Beard wrote:
> Hollis Frampton's remarks on this subject are, unfortunately, still quite
This is of course a great letter, which I've read before too.
In fairness, it should be pointed out that different works have
different economic models. A Hollywood studio might be delighted to have
"Evil Dead 12" premiered at the Museum of Modern Art. Well, maybe not
"Evil Dead," but something they were pushing as "classy." Many
moderately well known painters would be thrilled to have a retrospective
at the Museum of Modern Art, and would never think of insisting on
rental fees for the paintings. There's a reason for this. A MoMA
retrospective for a painter could lead to big bucks, or a tenured
teaching job, or more likely both. For avant-garde filmmakers, the
pickings were, and are, much slimmer, though indeed Frampton did wind up
with a tenured teaching job. But today, for example, an art school
instructor hoping for tenure would want to show work whether paid or
not; teaching pays the rent. Avant-garde filmmakers have not, in
general, been able to make a living from their art.
I've had similar experiences as a writer, often asked to appear on
panels, or write articles, for free. The other people appearing or
writing are usually full time professors; doing such things for free
makes sense for them; in fact, it's part of their job descriptions.
Instead I make the argument that, as a no longer young freelancer, it
doesn't make sense for me -- and, to the credit of those inviting me,
that usually results in a small honorarium. Had Frampton, or, earlier,
Brakhage, shown a broader understanding of the economics of museum
exhibitions, it might have helped their cause. But Frampton had his
retro, as Brakhage did earlier; I assume that means that the MoMA met
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.