Art as care, Konst som omsorg

At a residency by Konstfrämjandet Stockholm at the Swedish Labour Movement´s Archives and Library I started to investigate the exhibition project Art as care (Konst som omsorg) 1979 - 1981 which was arranged by Stockholm County Council and Konstfrämjandet. I wanted to draw attention to the "emergency" jobs (beredskapsarbeten) that many artists had during the 1970s and 1980s and which followed the 1974 cultural policy goals, employment that enabled livelihoods in the form of ”art as a bread job”. Art as care drew attention to the so-called “functional art” which was carried out under the auspices of Stockholm County Council and was aimed at the health and care sector with disabled children and adults.

For the exhibition at Tensta Konsthall Phantom of the commons I presented
four posters providing an overview of the emergency jobs for artists during Stockholm County Council’s seven-year pilot project, 1972–79. Giving an account of several of the artists’ processes and works exhibited at Art as Care at Södertälje Konsthall in the autumn of 1979. The oil painting Woman in the Milwaukee Project, refers to The Handicraft Project which was part of the WPA (Workers Progress Administration) under New Deal in the USA, a labor market stimulating measure to employ the unemployed during the depression of the 1930s. The slide show, shows photographer Stefan Åkerberg’s photographs, which were also emergency workers. The display includes drawings made in mixed media after documentary photography, photographs from the exhibition Art as care at Södertälje konsthall 1979: as well as publications made for the project and the book Creative Hands by Doris Cox and Barbara Warren, New York, Wiley, 1945.

The project has further been presented at Agenturs conference at Medborgarhuset Hägerstensåsen and as part of Vård och värde at Konsthall C organized by Jenny Richards and Ulrika Flink.

Agentur, Konstfrämjandet Stockholm, Arbetarrörelsens arkiv och bibliotek, Södertälje Konsthall