Esther Windsor

Pimps and Hookers

Simon Bedwell, David Burrows and Simon O‘ Sullivan, Cedric Christie, Cullinan and Richards (Art Lab), Adam Dant,
Anat Ben David, Freee (Dave Beech, Mel Jordan, Andy Hewitt), Liz Price

8 July – 6 Aug 2006
Private View Friday 7th July 6-9pm

1000000mph project space

open Mon-Fri. 12 - 6pm

59 Old Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6QA

Curated by Esther Windsor

Pimps and Hookers has been chosen as a title for this group show to provoke questions regarding art’s subservience to newly emergent ‘creative industries’ and the subsequent institutionalisation and sexing up of ‘art’ in popular culture in the interests of capitalism.

Culture has become recognized as a valid form of profit-making with the decline of traditional manufacturing industries. Culture industries are projected to be the future of Britain. This is most obviously seen firstly emergent in the ‘90s Blair’s Cool Britannia, Brit art, Brit pop, Brit lit etc.

Pimps and Hookers is interested in the impact and possibilities of maketisation: from the process of art school to the pursuit of dealers and profit; to corporate sponsored museums; arts employment in the service of cultural regeneration; to the sweep of art fairs and globalisation, we all serve the movement and flow of capital. Artists curators, writers, educators, arts councils, museums, institutions, policy makers, governments, corporations, collectors and dealers are all pimps and hookers to capitalism and not exempt from its ideological structures.

The Class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production…. Insofar as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of an epoch, they do this in its whole range, hence among other things they also regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch. Marx and Engels, 1847

Art’s mythic association with creativity, freedom and ’genius’ is exploited to sell people an idea of culture, a shared way of life and social grouping, back to themselves. Community belonging, class, identity, sexuality etc become lifestyle options linked to consumption choices.  Art is one such experience, packaged as object with aspiration to a lifestyle of personal expression, creativity and authentic experience.

Culture industries are involved in the production of social meaning- part of a signifying system through which social order is communicated, reproduced experienced and explored. Raymond Williams

Pimps and hookers encourages work that plays with iconic systems of value and art making. A self-conscious engagement with one’s own productivity, community and systems of meaning allows a negotiation of the slippery path to prostitution, where values and emotions are lived through object status and unequal relations.

Pimps and hookers would like to argue for awareness of contemporary arts relationship to cultural industries to avoid a feudal economy of patronage to artists and art held in sway to market values and dressed up as free market, democratic interests.


More on artists:


Venice Biennale, 8 June – 6 November 2005. Location of artwork: Ponte dei Barcaroli, on the Calle dei Frutariol, San Marco district, Venice Biennale, and free poster/publication available at various Biennale sites. (Poster/publication still available by request from Freee). Launched at Campo S. Fantin/bridge at Calle Chiesa, San Marco,5-6pm, Friday 10th June, 2005.
Also Shown: Pimps and Hookers, 1000000 mph gallery, curated Esther Windsor, 59 Old Bethnal Green Road London. Show runs 8 July – 6 August 2006. Supported by the British Council and the Arts Council, England.

The Aesthetic Function Of Public Art is the final work in the series of text works entitled The Three Functions. The works entitled, The Economic Function Of Public Art, The Social Function Of Public Art, and The Aesthetic Function Of Public Art, aim to examine the tensions and contradictions that exist within public art. The Aesthetic Function Of Public Art describes the ideology of aesthetics, a charismatic and deceptive form of knowledge, often described as good taste that as Dave Beech describes, ‘fulfils its social function by masquerading as asocial. Taste conceals its modes of acquisition so that its social divisiveness appears as natural distinctions between those who have it and those who don’t.’

The text work aims to contest the aesthetic ideology of public art and to enter into a discourse about the reformation of culture.