For love or money? – A call for works

Mari Gold

10 April 2017

What happens when an artwork is specified as “Not for Sale”? What are the reasons for refusing to exchange the work for money?

Our June #7 issue we will consider not just what we make, but also why we make. Do we make to put bread on the table every day, with the prospect of fortune sometime in the future? Can we treat seriously something that is made with no economic value?

In this issue, we reflect on a number of trends that question the purely monetary purpose of making, including creative commons (3D printing), a mobile millennium generation, automation, post-capitalism and indigenous revival of customary values. In a world where worth is increasingly measured by the dollar, we want to find a way of valuing what we do for reasons besides financial gain. We’re inviting artists to send in an image of a work that has been made for love, however, that might be defined. Please send this in with an explanation. Entries should be submitted by 12 May here.

See also What Daniel Blake won’t sell


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  • Gigs says:

    If it is not for sale it should be already sold. However often the artist has so much invested in time and materials that to sell it would be to confirm the lack of economic value of the(artist and) creation, OR the artist is afraid to promote the item properly to achieve a sale. Everything has a value. Exchanging for cash is difficult for some.

  • Moyra Elliott says:

    There can be many reasons for not selling!
    Some have an eye on their future retrospective/survey show and wish to keep this particular work towards that for some reason.
    Sometimes its already sold or gifted but the artist borrowed back to exhibit again for this particular venue.
    Its making process is entwined with personal issues/memories too close to exchange for money.
    It feels too close to what generated it and so the artist is waiting for the next iteration before feeling free to exchange for economic purpose.
    It was not what was intended but may be seen as an interesting step on the way… and perhaps the artist wants to hang on to it for a while because of that so as to take back into the studio for the next working processes…
    Lots and lots of reasons why a work might be ‘not for sale’, at this moment, or for ever.
    Economics are just one reason to exhibit.

    • Jasmine says:

      Thanks for that exhaustive list, Moyra. We hope to feature it when the works are online and see if it can be added to.