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Author and Artist Eurydice Eve: From a Basic Artist Income to A Universal Mother Income

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In 2011, the feminist writer and artist Eurydice Eve had a ten-year 10,000sf retrospective across from Art Basel in Miami Beach. The exhibit, titled “Occupy Art Basel,” showcased Eurydice’s political art from Sep. 2001 to Dec. 2011. Across from the Art Basel fair, where billionaires outbid each other for artworks, Eurydice’s artworks were not for sale. 

From painting graffiti as a teenager in Heraklion, Crete to staging “art unfairs” in Miami Beach that questioned the idea that art could be priced, Eurydice had long challenged the ethics of art as a private quotidian commodity and emphasized its devotional avant-garde role instead. As the founder of Art Against All Inc., Eurydice spoke in public venues against the price disparity between a recognized and an unrecognized “masterpiece.” Eurydice bristled at the explosion in art prices brought on by Wall Street investors and top income earners who turned art into a store of value for their post-2008 riches, thereby also becoming arbiters of cultural value. As the granddaughter of an Orthodox priest and a Greek iconographer, Eurydice was aware of the power of visual evocation to compel personal faith and social change.

“Our culture defines a human as anyone who can engage in commerce, not creativity,” Eurydice explained in interviews. “Commercialization destroys our imaginative ability to resolve contradictions and heal antitheses into new syntheses.” 

Eurydice publicized her 2011 protest of “the unholy marriage of money and art” in an “Occupy Art Basel” manifesto on tumblr and a zine by that title, sixty thousand free copies of which were picked up by visitors touring “Occupy Art Basel” as a protest against the corrupting influence of corporate wealth took place in Zuccotti Park across from Wall Street. The Occupy Movement also protested extreme income inequality and inadequate accountability following the Great Recession of 2008.      

Author and Artist Eurydice Eve: From a Basic Artist Income to A Universal Mother Income
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Eurydice kept “Occupy Art Basel” leaderless, did not release names of participating artists and gave no interviews even after a media storm rose when The New York Observer reported that “protesters moved down to Miami for Art Basel.” Art Basel, celebrating its tenth 

anniversary in Miami, warned participating galleries of possible occupation. But the Occupy Movement had begun to fizzle from lack of demands for policy change. Eurydice, however, came out of “Occupy Art Basel” with a policy proposal for a Basic Artist Income.

Eurydice credits a conversation she had with a stranger at her exhibit while she was stitching a tapestry that read “Do You Own a Eurydice?” “Handstitching frees the mind to wander off unsupervised rather than focus on usual busy work,” Eurydice explained later. “My public performance expressed the emotional effect on an artist of seeing her art being auctioned off to the highest bidder. A Tibetan artist struck a conversation. He told me his patron bought every painting he made and paid him $111,000 a year for a dozen artworks a year. He called this ‘a living wage.’ I said every artist I knew would love this arrangement. I thought of the New Deal and WPO. I couldn’t unthink this. So I finetuned a Basic Artist Income practicum.” Eurydice wrote a detailed proposal for artists to send in a number of artworks that met certain standards of quality to a consortium of museums in exchange for salary and benefits. 

Ten years later, art was less affordable, income disparities had grown, and, with inflation at record highs, creatives had to choose survival. Most produced whatever art the market wanted or hired their skills to the digital marketplace. Others married and changed careers. Eurydice insisted that artists are essential to cultural coherence, that authentic art unites people in times  of chaos, and must be safeguarded at all costs. But in 2021 Eurydice expanded her proposal to include the most essential unpaid cultural workers of all: mothers. Her research and time went into a philosophy called Procreativism, which Eurydice proposed as a plan for human evolution in the 21st century. The first step would be a Universal Mother Income: “Universal Mother Income would guarantee the right to motherhood, standardize the substantive value of motherwork, heal economic disparities, raise subreplacement fertility levels, and enable mothers and fathers to redefine love dynamics and renegotiate family units.” Eurydice Eve believes that a standard mother income, based on the formal recognition of mothering as a job recompensed at fair market value through voluntary contributions, will enter the national conversation and cultural consciousness in 2024. We wish her well.

Eurydice Eve is the founder of Art Against All Inc. and the author of “Satyricon USA” (Simon & Schuster) and other books. She writes the Universal Mother Income newsletter and Medium. Eurydice also hosts the Speak with Eve Eurydice podcast and YouTube channel.      

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