Since 2014, when W.A.G.E. began certifying art-world institutions for maintaining equitable payment methods for artists, museums have pushed back against the activist group—whose name stands for Working Artists and the Greater Economy. Still in the present, no museum is W.A.G.E-certified. But small moves toward progress are being made. Today, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh revealed that W.A.G.E. has certified its upcoming Carnegie International show, meaning that the group has reviewed the exhibition’s payment policies and confirmed that each participating artist will receive a standard minimum fee.
The Carnegie International now joins a group of 49 certified institutions. Only one of those is museum-related: Open Space, a platform run by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that publishes writings by curators, artists, and critics. Other certified institutions include Artists Space, Light Industry, Primary Information, Participant Inc, and the Swiss Institute.
The upcoming Carnegie International, the exhibition’s 57th edition, is scheduled to open in October 2018. It will be curated by Ingrid Schaffner, who was formerly the chief curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. Schaffner he told ARTnews earlier this year that the biennial will focus on the question, “What is ‘the international’?”
In a statement, W.A.G.E. said, “One of W.A.G.E. Certification’s cardinal rules is that we don’t certify single exhibitions . . . However, because museums have demonstrated the greatest resistance . . . we have chosen to bend this rule and approach the reform of large art institutions brick by brick.”