show at Base, Florence


“We pay you upon arrival”

Base is a wonderful institution in Florence, Italy. It is run by an artist collective with Maurizio Mnannunci, Paulo Masi, Paulo Parisi and others. They do excellent work in a very boring city for contemporary art.

In February of 2002, I was invited to do a show that went very well. I was very happy to do the show, and to work with a great group of people there. The result was wonderful for me.

The only negative thing was the simple fact that I was never reimbursed for my travels from New York. This was explicitly promised to me. “We pay you upon arrival.” I was promised reimbursement but it never has happened. To this date, nearly 3 1/2 years later, I still get the same answers: "We are having difficulties". Needless to say: my work also was never returned or shipped back.

I know that it is difficult to run a place in a city that doesn’t even take care of its historical monuments, its main source of attraction and revenues. Florence is impressive: so much art, so much great architecture, so many tourists – and so little restoration – I wonder where all the money is put.
If people simply don't have the money, they shouldn’t do it, or at least, shouldn't promise to pay.

Of course, asking today makes me look stupid, cheap and an idiot. But I really do not like the fact that they promise something and then just say, "we can't pay."
So if you are an artist working with them, be careful.

For the records: the main figure behind Base is Maurizio Mnannunci, next to some other individuals who are visibly better off than the rest of the group I met. He is the main force and - I assume - the most paying source next to some others. But even if it might be right, that there is not much money at BASE, privately they could cover these relatively small costs. So BASE is chronically short at money yet they maintain it without living up to their promises which they express directly. It wasn’t BASE that said: “we pay you” it was Mnannunci, who said you will be reimbursed, though it hasn’t happened for nearly 3 years. Now, Mnannunci blames BASE.

Apart from that, it is a question of principle and I feel really neglected and disrespected.

These little facts bitter one's good memory about great events.

I do think that this reality should be addressed and artists should express themselves about. Therefore, I put this petty address on my website.

For the rest, I love them all.