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A Modest Proposal (symposium) organised by Vermeir & Heiremans in collaboration with Pump House Gallery

Pump House Gallery and JUBILEE, in collaboration with the Royal College of Art (RCA), presented a one-day symposium on 27 October 2018, examining fundamental questions raised by the solo exhibition, A Modest Proposal (in a Black Box) at Pump House Gallery (3 Oct.-16 Dec. 2018)

A Modest Proposal (in a Black Box) investigates the possibility of financialising public art collections, museum real estate and symbolic capital, to generate an ecology in which value generated by artistic practices is distributed more sustainably. The artists’ new work has been developed in collaboration with financial sector workers, lawyers and academic researchers, and aims to create a financial model that would benefit not only investors and art institutions, but also the artists and art workers.

A Modest Proposal Symposium questions whether values – both cultural and monetary – originating from public goods should be claimed for the benefit of specific stakeholders, or redistributed through a political process. Can these values be reinvested in arts institutions and art producers, in line with the museum’s goals and tasks? Or should a parliamentary debate allocate these resources, making them available for healthcare, education or even military expenses? And what if ‘governing’ in this case means developing and promoting certain types of financialisation, which are beneficial for (international) elites and companies, yet pose risks or are detrimental to the wider community?

The artists, in collaboration with curator Ned McConnell, have invited six speakers for the symposium. Working from different backgrounds, their personal research will shed a specific light on some of the most urgent issues at hand.


Vermeir & Heiremans 

Annelore Hofman 

Victoria Ivanova 

Caroline Knowles 

Luke Mason

Louis Moreno

Emily Rosamond
Moderated by Andrea Phillips

Production: Jubilee vzw

With the support of:

The Flemish Community

Art et Recherche asbl

Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles

Pump House Gallery

Wandsworth Council

Enable Leisure and Culture

Art Council England

Cockayne-Grants for the Arts

The London Community Foundation