Leigh Claire La Berge

Jan 28, 2021

Wages Against Artwork

Decommodified Labor and the Claims of Socially Engaged Art

Duke University Press 2019

The last twenty years have seen a rise in the production, circulation, and criticism of new forms of socially engaged art aimed at achieving social justice and economic equality. 

Leigh Claire La Berge, author of Leigh Claire La Berge, Wages Against Artwork: Decommodified Labor and the Claims of Socially Engaged Art (Duke UP, 2019), speaks with Pierre d'Alancaisez about what she calls decommodified labor — the slow diminishment of wages alongside an increase in the demands of work. Outlining the ways in which artists relate to work, La Berge examines how artists and organizers create institutions to address their own precarity and why the increasing presence of animals and children in contemporary art points to the turn away from paid labor.

Leigh Claire La Berge is Assistant Professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York. She's the author of Scandals and Abstraction (about which she spoke on an earlier episode), and co-editor of Reading Capitalist Realism. She's currently working on expanding her project Marx for Cats, initiated with Caroline Woolard and Or Zubalsky.

La Berge's discusses the proliferation of animals in contemporary art starting 45 minutes in the episode. 

Pierre d’Alancaisez is a contemprary art curator, cultural strategist, researcher. Sometime scientist, financial services professional.

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