Common Practice New York is an advocacy group that fosters research and discussions about the role of small-scale arts organizations in New York City. The members of Common Practice New York are Anthology Film Archives, Artists Space, Bidoun, Danspace Project, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), ISSUE Project Room, The Kitchen, Light Industry, Participant Inc, Primary Information, Printed Matter, Recess, SculptureCenter, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Triple Canopy, and White Columns.
Common Practice New York draws inspiration from Common Practice, London, an affiliated advocacy group working for the recognition and fostering of the small-scale contemporary visual arts sector in England, and founder of the Common Practice Network.
The first Common Practice New York initiative included a series of three invitational roundtables on contemporary institutional practice organized in collaboration with students and faculty from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard), which took place in fall 2013, and a public symposium developed in response to these seminars on May 18, 2014. In 2015, nine new groups became members of Common Practice New York. Currently, the group is planning a number of new initiatives for 2016.
Founded over the course of several meetings beginning in 2012, Common Practice New York aims to collectively embody the question What is our common practice and why do we value it? Each group claims certain benefits to its small scale: sustainability not at the expense of quality; long-term relationships with artists and publics; less compromised access to artwork; and horizontal networks and collaboration. Yet factors such as the embrace of larger institutions to new art, ever-adapting commercial environments, novel forms of social interaction, and the rising costs of living in New York have all created unprecedented challenges for small-scale organizations.
Though our organizations may, by their very existence, negotiate these questions, Common Practice New York acknowledges a growing need for critical discussions that extend beyond the churn of our programming schedules and the rhetoric of our mission statements. The group aims to collectively examine how small-scale New York arts organizations are perceived and evaluated by audiences, artists, and funders; identify the challenges of operating in today's climate; and revive discussions of obstacles and inequalities which have persisted since the rise of the alternative space. In doing so, Common Practice New York aims to develop new knowledge and further a discourse on ethical positions for the presentation of art and ideas in the twenty-first century.