This is a past event
March 30, 2021 - 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm (already occurred)
  • Registration Required

Join us for a two-part lecture with A.K. Burns—artist, educator and founding member of W.A.G.E. (Working Artists in the Greater Economy)—followed by a Q&A moderated by Lisa Crossman, Mead curator of American art and art of the Americas.

In Part I, Burns will present a brief history of the connection between art and labor movements in the U.S. and share how this history set the stage for W.A.G.E. In 2008, Burns co-founded W.A.G.E., an artists’ advocacy group that has re-envisioned efforts of the Art Workers Coalition with a focus on resolving fiscal inequities between artists and institutions. W.A.G.E. acted primarily as an educational organization until 2012, when it transitioned into a 501c3 nonprofit and began actively advocating for artist rights. In the fall of 2014, W.A.G.E. launched their much-anticipated certification program and fee calculator.

In Part II, Burns will discuss labor as it pertains to Negative Space, a quasi-science fiction four-part video epic that explores the violence of boundary-making practices and agency as enacted through subjugated positions. Each video within Negative Space is nonlinear and allegorical, built around a physical system: power (the sun), the body, space (void/land) and water. Through a process of conjuring and deconstructing science fiction tropes, the videos work at the intersection of politics and fantasy. Negative Space raises questions about the allocation of resources, environmental fragility, marginalized bodies and their relationship to place.

This program is made possible by the Terra Foundation for American Art and is aimed at providing frameworks for thinking about a forthcoming exhibition about labor at the Mead Art Museum.

Free and open to all! Registration is required.

If you have accessibility concerns, please contact Danielle Amodeo at or (413) 542-5651.

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Danielle Amodeo
(413) 542-5651
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