Living on the edge

Interview with Caroline Woolard, curator of the Brooklyn pavilions

For her second pavilion in the Amsterdam Biennale, Caroline Woolard curated Temporary Services into the Brooklyn Pavilion. They organized a one-off newspaper, focusing on art labor and economics in the U.S.A. The second Brooklyn pavilion opens November 14, 20:00 hrs at Mediamatic.


Art workers won't kiss ass - Caroline Woolard

It's not easy to find her pavilion in the Mediamatic space, when you expect a cardboard cube. I follow her to her spot near the Boston pavilion, where you can make your own music video with the friendSlicer. Between two small benches there is a pile of newspapers with shouting headlines like 'ART WORK. A national conversation about art, labor, and economics'. Curator Caroline Woolard sits opposite of me on the bench with a white Macbook on her lap.

What's the idea behind the newspaper?
'Today it's very difficult to live in the United States as an artist. From 2007 to 2008 there was an 63% increase in artist unemployment. There are no jobs and it's very hard to find an apartment. I move further and further away from the city every year. Artists live on the edge, pay rent to make a industrial warehouse better. Often there is no shower or hot water. This situation makes me think about real estate and finance. We're proposing alternative infrastructures.'

Do you think the situation in the United States is worse than in Europe?
'Yes, it's a lot worse. In Europe there is an infrastructure for funding and supporting experimental projects, but in the United States it disappeared in the eighties. That's why many artists moved away to Berlin and say the New York-art scene is dead. But there are still many artists living and working in New York. They only have to unite and stand up for their rights, like the unemployed artists did in the thirties.'

Do you have work at the moment?
'I worked as a technician at an art school, but everyone was laid off. Now I get unemployment from the government, but it ends soon.'

Can the public also participate in your project?
'Amsterdam is the first place in the world where the newspaper is published. After that the paper will be distributed in all 50 states of the United States and Puerto Rico. We encourage people to print it and to have a discussion, because we want an international perspective on the subject. How do you pay for your life? We have to work things out and we can only do that together. Then you know what's possible and what others already tried.'

The newspaper was printed in 24 hours and culls together writings from artists, curators, critics and theorists, from across the United States and Puerto Rico. You can order it via Also available at the Brooklyn pavilion - 2, that opens on 14 November in the Amsterdam Biennale at Mediamatic.

Opening of the new Brooklyn pavilion on Saturday 14 November, 20:00 hrs at Mediamatic Bank, Vijzelstraat 68, Amsterdam.

NOTE: Caroline needs help bringing more newspapers from Brooklyn to Amsterdam. If you're traveling from NYC to Amsterdam and have extra room in your luggage, please contact Caroline: to meet up in Brooklyn and transfer the goods!