Photos from The Work Office (TWO) at:
chashama, LMCC Swingspace, Dumbo Art Festival, Times Square Alliance, and Bronx River Art Center
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What is TWO?
The Work Office (TWO) is a multidisciplinary art project disguised as an employment agency. Informed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the Great Depression in the 1930s, TWO is a gesture to "make work" for visual and performing artists, writers, and others by giving them simple, idea-based assignments to explore, document, or improve daily life in New York. From a temporary central office, TWO's administrators interview, register, and hire employees; assign, collect, and exhibit work; and distribute Depression-era wages to employees during weekly Payday Parties.
TWO’s administrators manage all aspects of the project, including oversight of the office and website. As the project’s lead artists, they will perform the dull bureaucratic work that ensures that their employees make artwork.
Prospective employees are invited to choose one of our assignments (see WORK
page for a complete list and examples) and submit their application online (see APPLY
). Applicants of interest will be interviewed, and, if hired, complete their assignment within one work week. At the completion of the work week, employees are paid $23.50, the weekly wage for an artist in the Federal One Project (the arts division of the WPA).
TWO holds a Payday Party at the end of each work week at the office. Employees collect their wages and the public is invited to view the week’s works and learn about the project. The Payday Parties are inspired by the socializing that occurred between artists as they waited in line to collect their wages at their local WPA office.
Assignments are also on view during TWO's public office hours.
TWO is based on the idea of "making work" (WPA terminology) for artists to "make work" (artist terminology). The project was born of an appreciation for the WPA and recurring comparisons in the news media between that era and today. With the current economic recession in mind, TWO revisits the approach the 1930s federal government took to alleviate the effects of the Depression on daily life. Artists were employed to make art–alongside infrastructure and other projects to rebuild the country–and were seen as a valuable labor force. Despite recent wistful references to the WPA, it seems implausible in contemporary U.S. culture that artists would be remunerated for their work in this way. TWO is a wry contemporary realization of this model.
the Bronx River Art Center; Times Square Alliance; the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council, Inc. (BAC); Two Trees Management, Brooklyn; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC); Capstone Equities; chashama; the Black Rock Arts Foundation; Mike's Tech Shop; StoryCorps; Moët Hennessey; and the following generous individuals: LizN, Olga Jerinic, Stephen Roberts, Maia Bailey, Keith Collins, Mickey, Andrew Beccone, Maria Jerinic, Alexandra Lee, Scott Willis, Ingrid Burrington, Fletcher Kohlhausen, Gene Bahng, T.J., Lisa Levy, Arthur Eisenberg, Susan, James Verinis, George and Margaret Jerinic, Hank Willis Thomas, Cory, Ellie Balk, Maria Mack, Dan Hacker, Daniel Tepper, George and Betty Woodman, Vera Jerinic-Brodeur, Florence Clutch Hunter, Christina Olsson, Rachel Buchanan, Natalie Campbell, Elvira Clayton, Elizabeth Bernstein, Marguerite Borrie Miller, Joshua Ashenmiller, Tim Chapman, Ian Duncan, Nadia Kalman, Cameron Gainer, Verda Alexander, Jessica Lagunas, Perry Chen, Marina, Megan Rothstein.
First conceptualized during the anxious yet optimistic November of 2008, TWO’s initial office opened July 2009 in the Times Square area of Manhattan, next to an IRS office and the National Debt Clock. TWO hired 47 artist-employees over three workweeks with support from chashama and the Black Rock Arts Foundation. TWO opened its second office during the spring of 2010 in the Financial District in a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Swing Space. Thirty-one artists were hired over six weeks. The third office opened during the DUMBO Arts Festival in September 2010, and, with a Brooklyn Arts Council Community Arts Regrant and support from Two Trees Management, TWO hired 32 artists for a weekend extravaganza in an empty office space. TWO was commissioned by Times Square Alliance in October 2011 as a public art event. Twelve artists performed and installed ten interactive assignments that responded to the Times Square District. In the winter of 2012, TWO participated in the Shifting Communities exhibition series at Bronx River Art Center by hiring 10 artists.
Katarina Jerinic’s photography, mixed-media work, and participant-based installations center on invented explorations of urban space and daily life. She received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts and a BA in History from American University. Jerinic has been an artist-in-residence at MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH; the Center for Book Arts, New York, NY; Harold Arts, Chesterhill, OH; and the Experimental Television Center, Owego, NY, and has participated in the Bronx Museum of the Arts' Artist in the Marketplace program. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Temple Gallery, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA; the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY; Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY; NurtureArt, Brooklyn, NY; Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; the Conflux Festival, New York, NY; and the Center for Book Arts, New York, NY, among others locally and nationally.
Naomi Miller is a photography-based artist whose abiding interest lies within her social interactions with her friends and family members. She is currently commissioning artist-lead tours in her 1978 Volvo station wagon. She has been a resident at The Wassaic Project, NY and participated in New York Foundation for the Arts’ Artist as Entrepreneur Boot Camp program, and will be a resident at The MacDowell Colony in 2012. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Stella Elkins Tyler Gallery, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA; The Wassaic Project 2011 Summer Festival, NY; Bronx River Arts Center, NY; Homestead Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Printed Matter, New York, NY; Steven Wolf Fine Arts and Royal Nonesuch Gallery, San Francisco, CA. She holds a MFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BA in English and studio art from Clark University.