It is often declared that the upside of a depression, be economic or psychological, is that it promotes creative thought. Art Barter is hard evidence of this claim. 

Launched in November 2009 by London-based curators Lauren Jones and Alix Janta, Art Barter re-examines our current system of exchange, encouraging the trade of art for goods and services, not money. While the concept itself isn’t all that new — Picasso and Modigliani were famous for trading paintings for meals, the Chelsea Hotel accepted art as rent, and Andy Warhol traded his talent for a video camera — Art Barter has expanded the willing artists to include Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Mat Collishaw, Gavin Turk and more, and added an element of surprise: the unconventional buyer.

In a time when art and the artist have become commodities, appraised by their monetary value, investment strategies and instrumental objectives, Art Barter asks: what is a piece of art worth? a year of psychotherapy or piano lessons? a lifelong supply of milk, cheese and eggs? a trip to the bahamas? an exhibition…a kidney?

Art Barter's current edition is taking place as part of "The Incubator", curated by Olivier Varenne as Chapter 7 of the Socle du Monde Biennale 2017 at the HEART Museum, Herning (Denmark).

For this occasion and for its 8th international edition, Art Barter is staging their infamous barter economy approach where you can offer anything in return for the art – except money. Visitors have to get creative and try to win the artworks by offering their skills, possessions, services, hobbies or anything else that they can dream up, encouraging them to think about what they have that is unique and how much they personally value the work.

How it works:

ART BARTER...

  • is a curated physical exhibition that takes place in a city over a definite period of time.
  • invites a range of established, emerging and lesser known artists living and working in the host city to submit one artwork each.
  • displays each artwork labelled only with a number (no name, price tag or title).
  • is open to the public and free to all.
  • invites the public to make offers on the artworks using the "Make a Swap" button on each artwork. The bids are then displayed in the "About the Artwork" section for new visitors to read and get inspired by.
  • only reveals the identity of each artist after the end of the exhibition by announcing it on Collectionair and artbarter.co.uk 
  • informs each artist of all of the offers made on their artwork during the exhibition.
  • facilitates finding out further information at the artist’s request and then introduces the winning bidder to the artist so the exchange can take place.
  • gives the artist the option of keeping their artwork if they do not wish to exchange.
  • announces the winning bids on Collectionair, artbarter.co.uk and by email to the winning bidder!

Barters open until August 15. 

Final results to be announced by August 27.

Participating artists: Katja Angeli, Ninna Bohn Pedersen, Anders Bonnesen, Julie Boserup, Troels Carlsen, Asger Carlsen, Christine Clemmesen, Tjorg Douglas Beer, Jason Dungan, Andrea Jespersen, John Kørner, Steffen Levring, Sarah McNulty, Karl Monies, Anna Margrethe Pedersen, Kristine Roepstorff, Yngvild Saeter, Marie Søndergaard Lolk, Charlotte Thrane, Maria Zhale.

Created in 2012 by Lauren Jones and Alix Janta-Polczynski, Alteria Art is an art organisation with a two-fold core mission: to support young and emerging talents and to champion a more open access to art making and collecting.

Alteria Art aims to implement those goals, working closely with both established and emerging contemporary artists through an eclectic mix of projects. These range from worldwide Art Barter events, to charitable projects, such as The Artists’ Colouring Book of ABC’s; giving artists studio time to learn new skills and produce limited edition prints, curating solo and group exhibitions across international locations and being a conduit for collaboration between inspirational people across all creative fields.

Alix Janta-Polczynski and Lauren Jones started working together in 2009 when they launched the original Art Barter event in London. Alix is a freelance curator and is the co-founder of photo publishing company Adad Books with Ines de Bordas. Lauren, also a freelance curator, works with James Putnam as an artist liaison on their independent projects and for the University of the Arts, London.