poor art* :

A Manifesto

Michael Kay (2015)


  1. Art for all.
  2. New art now.
  3. The re-politicisation of art, beyond the party-political.
  4. Opportunities in art for disadvantaged and hard to reach groups.
  5. The public execution of Jonathan Jones — the guardians principle arts critic (a joke, but we will take his pens from him, by force if necessary).
  6. A living wage for all artists [in the broadest sense].
  7. More dedicated arts journalists.
  8. Art is not for the inside of bullet proof vaults to sit idly as it accrues value. Art is only art when it is experienced.
  9. An end to gender, racial, agist, and class bias in the arts.
  10. Art as political action.
  11. Art as everything.
  12. Art as instigator.
  13. Art as art.
  14. Art is.

Everyone is a museum, our artefacts are just usually hidden behind frosted glass.

Our name has a multiplicity of meanings and connotations and is a reference to the Arte Povera movement.

The cliche of the poor artist has long been present in our culture, this myth is of benefit to the establishment, they don’t have to pay you a penny if you’re already dead. There is a tragedy in seeing the work of an artist, which was never valued much, suddenly becoming worth more than the artist’s entire worldly possessions were when they were alive. Artists are encouraged to be less material, whilst being encouraged to make art which is itself (usually) of a material nature.

We exist for one reason, there are far far to many people with serious talent, they create art that is spectacular, write stories, make films, make music, sculptures, drawings, paintings, photographs, performances, poetry … etc and yet they do not earn anything for their labor. Their creations are under-valued, both in practical economic terms but also in what Jean Baudrillard would have called ‘symbolic value’. We do not wish to be starving artists and however noble the removal of materialism may be, when it is enforced by a society which does not value its subjects (rather than consciously chosen by an individual) that society is in a poor state.

Simultaneously artworks that we love are sold for prices which are nearly unimaginable to us. There is (as in society) a minority of artists making billions and billions from their work, whilst the rest of us live on beans, work terrible jobs which slowly drive us further into debt — something has got to give.

If a society does not value its subjects, its subjects will cease to value society.

We exist to protest this imbalance.

We exist to promote artists at the beginning of their careers.

We exist to challenge the existing establishment.

As Bob and Roberta Smith once said, we exist to ‘make our own damn art world.’ And goddammit we will. And we won’t invite Charles Saatchi.

We are an online magazine — which operates with a budget of 0 — however we plan on expanding and occupying many subtle channels.

We would love you to join us.
We welcome all that is experimental.

Send us your souls, your writing, your photographs, your artworks.

Send us your emails, letters, faxes:


Submissions open to all

With an intent to elevate artists at the beginning of their careers.