I seem to have generated some interest by mentioning my proposed chutney for poetry exchange. Really I am only honouring a long tradition of trading art for food. I believe the bards and minstrels of old would exchange their epics, stories and songs for food and lodging and there are plenty of examples including more recent ones. Many down-on-their-luck artists (and I imagine poets and writers) have exchanged their art for a crust. This Venice Beach cafe showcases “art from numerous Venice artists such as Ed Ruscha, Dennis Hopper and Robert Graham (trading art for food is a Venice tradition)” and landscape painter Jim Mott did a whole 10,000 mile road trip (which he called the Itinerant Artist Project) by exchanging paintings for room and board.
Payment in kind makes a lot of sense to me and in Mexico “in 1957, painter David Alfaro Siqueiros proposed that artists in Mexico be allowed to pay taxes with their work. Half a century later, this idea has given rise to one of the world’s most important collections of contemporary art.” Mind you I guess you’d have to be earning enough to need to pay tax in the first place!
And here in New Zealand when the Mangamahu Possum painting was listed for sale on Trademe, there was discussion in the comments about a tradition of leaving artwork in payment for lodgings (although a bit of a stretch in that case I think). I am certain there are many examples.
This talk of exchange and barter might be a sign of things to come, you know with peak oil and all. In the meantime I am calculating how many jars of preserves I will need to swap for a modest McCahon. And I promise that this will be the last of domestica for a bit.
NOTE: I have removed Sam Hunt from my linky list because I heard him (or a good mimic) doing an ad for Cobb and Co. today on TV – though maybe he got paid in steak and beer?