Some people take issue with the practice of artists having assistants who create their work for them. The Wall Street Journal published a piece in 2011 titled "The Art Assembly Line" that spoke about artists including Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst who "employ small armies of assistants to do their paintings and sculptures." The article points out the fact that artists have relied on assistants and apprentices for centuries, but the contemporary art world seems to be more divided on the issue.
Swedish artist Jonas Lund has decided to address the topic with Studio Practice, an installation at the Boetzelaer|Nispen gallery in Amsterdam that involves turning the space into a visible art production line with four assistants. There are cameras set up in four areas of the gallery that are livestreaming the activities of the assistants as they create Lund's work based on guidelines established in a 300-page manual.
"In deviating from the traditional practice of producing art within the confines of a studio and then showing it publicly in a gallery, Studio Practice aims to both demystify and embrace the mechanisms of art production and distribution," Lund told ANIMAL. The assistants, who Lund says are all artists themselves, work 4 days a week for 5 hours a day.
For the sake of transparency, Lund has also shared the contract that they all agreed to, which outlines their work schedule, restrictions against sharing information about the work "in an forum, public or private," and their payrate, which is 10 Euros an hour and an additional 5% commission of the sales prices for the pieces that are approved and make it to the gallery walls.
Whether or not you agree with the practice, you have to admit that this in an interesting experiment. Lund has also been sharing photos of the finished works on his Instagram. Check out a few of them below and head to the Studio Practice site to catch the artists at work.