About this project
For more information, visit www.theworkoffice.com
We opened The Work Office (TWO) in the summer of 2009 and are working to re-open and hire more artists this coming year. Your donation will cover an artist's weekly wage of $23.50. Our goal of $1175.00 will pay the weekly wages of 50 artists.
The Work Office (TWO) is a multidisciplinary art project disguised as an employment agency. Informed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the Great Depression in the 1930s, TWO is a gesture to "make work" for visual and performing artists, writers, and others by giving them simple, idea-based assignments to explore, document, or improve daily life in New York. From a temporary central office, TWO's administrators—Katarina Jerinic and Naomi Miller—interview, register, and hire employees; assign, collect, and exhibit work; and distribute Depression-era wages to employees during weekly Payday Parties.
Prospective employees submit an application online through the project’s website and, once hired, choose an assignment such as documenting a need for repairs, making a regional travel guide for their block or neighborhood, reinterpreting a newspaper photograph, or giving a concert for a houseplant. Employees have a week to turn in their assignment, for which they will be paid $23.50, the weekly wage for an artist in the Federal One Project (the arts division of the WPA).
Payday Parties are held at the end of each work week. At these events, employees collect their wages and the public is invited to view the week’s works and learn about the project. The Payday Parties are inspired by the socializing that occurred between artists as they waited in line to collect their wages at their local WPA office. They also provide a forum for TWO artists and the general public to interact.
TWO is based on the idea of “making work” (WPA terminology) for artists to “make work” (artist terminology). With the current economic recession in mind, TWO revisits the approach the 1930s federal government took to alleviate the effects of the Depression on daily life. Artists were employed to make art—alongside infrastructure and other projects to rebuild the country—and were seen as a valuable labor force. TWO is a wry contemporary realization of this model.
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