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Klaus Biesenbach Agrees That the Timing of His New Museum Director Gig Is ‘Not Great’ + Other Stories

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Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Monday, September 13.

NEED-TO-READ

Hong Kong Police Raid Tiananmen Square Museum – Four members of the group behind Hong Kong’s Tiananmen Square Museum were detained on Wednesday, September 8, including Chow Hang Tung, the prominent pro-democracy activist and barrister. The individuals from the Hong Kong Alliance were arrested under the national security law, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Authorities also removed exhibits and art, including a paper model of the “Goddess of Democracy” and photographs of candlelit vigils for the victims of the 1989 government crackdown. (BBC)

What Working at the New Museum Was Really Like – Underneath the patina of contemporary coolness, the New Museum was a place of exploitation, according to one former staffer turned union organizer. “Salaries were so low that full-time employees worked extra jobs,” Dana Kopel wrote. “An hourly rate in visitor services and the bookstore teetered just above minimum wage and hadn’t gone up in several years.” In a particularly revealing moment, Kopel recounts a meeting with Hans Haacke, legendary proponent of institutional critique, who said he was prepared to cross the union’s picket line if they went on strike before his exhibition opened. (The Baffler)

Klaus Biesenbach Was Just as Surprised as You Were – Just days after his new L.A. MOCA co-director was named, the museum leader surprised everyone by announcing he would take on the role of director at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie and the Museum of 20th Century Art. Several board members told the Times they felt betrayed by the decision, while Biesenbach said the move came together quickly. “I understand everybody to be surprised because I am also surprised,” he said, acknowledging that the “timing is not great.” (New York Times) 

Reflecting on the History of the Studio Museum – This roundtable featuring curators Naomi Beckwith, Thelma Golden, Lowery Stokes Sims, and Thomas Jean Lax on the history of the Studio Museum in Harlem is essential reading. Reflecting on the continued necessity of the institution today, Golden said: “Lowery was the first Black curator of the Met. I was the first Black curator at the Whitney Museum. When we both left our positions to go to the Studio Museum, it meant those two institutions did not in that moment have a Black curator. What I think we both understood then is we need all of it.” (Artforum)

MOVERS & SHAKERS

LACMA Nabs Indigenous American Art Gift – The Reiter family is gifting 109 Indigenous American artworks to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The works span a wide range of media and eras, with a particular strength in ceramics produced in the Southwest in the 19th and 20th centuries. (Press release)

Prospect New Orleans to Stagger Openings After Ida – The fifth edition of the triennial—which was founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina—will open in stages beginning October 23 due to the damage caused by the recent Hurricane Ida. All projects will be live by November 13. The gala has also been rescheduled from October to January 2022. (The Art Newspaper)

Montreal Museum Gets Print Gift – The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has received a gift of eight prints by Rembrandt, James Tissot, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Odilon Redon, Édouard Vuillard, Marc Chagall, and Gerald Leslie Brockhurst from Canadian collectors Irwin and Freda Browns. The images focus on the depiction of women (though you will notice there is nary a female artist among the group). (Press release)

FOR ART’S SAKE

Arc de Triomphe Wrapping Nears Completion – The €14 million ($16.5 million) dream project of Christo, who died in 2020, will finally be complete on September 18. Workers were dangling off the Arc de Triomphe over the weekend as the historic monument was carefully wrapped in white fabric to the artist’s specifications. (Le Figaro)

Fabric panels are beeing unfurled in front of the outer walls of the Arc de Triomphe. Paris, September 12, 2021. Photo by Matthias Koddenberg 2021 Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation.

Fabric panels are beeing unfurled in front of the outer walls of the Arc de Triomphe. Paris, September 12, 2021. Photo by Matthias Koddenberg. 2021 Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation.

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Maura Healey approves gig economy ballot question but fights idea in court

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“We better be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Jessica Hill
Attorney General Maura Healey remains in a dichotomy after approving a ballot that would make gig economy workers independent, but continues to fight against Uber and Lyft in court to make drivers employees. Jessica Hill / AP

On Sept. 1, Attorney General Maura Healey gave the go-ahead to a ballot question that, if approved by voters, would maintain gig workers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers, as independent contractors.

At the same time, Healey and her office continue to spearhead a lawsuit against Uber and Lyft that accuses the rideshare companies of denying benefits to workers — whom she believes should be classified as employees, not contractors, under Massachusetts law.

On GBH’s Boston Public Radio segment “Meet the AG” Tuesday afternoon, host Jim Braude asked Healey to clarify the two simultaneous actions.

“We better be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Healey said. “Under the state constitution, there’s a process that allows regular folks to go ahead and get things on a ballot for a vote, and that happens every year … There may be litigation, there may not be litigation, but that’s just the hat that I wear as attorney general.”

Healey noted that her job is to review the ballot question’s language and to see whether or not it satisfies the legal requirements to make the ballot, regardless of her personal preference.

The ballot question garnered much attention in recent months as supporters — including a coalition of app-based businesses like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart — argued that by keeping workers as independent contractors, the workers would be able to have more freedom with their job and set a minimum earnings guarantee. 

Opponents of the ballot question — like Healey — have said that it would continue to allow gig economy employers to provide less security for those who work for these companies. Throughout the pandemic, these companies have seen pushback from both gig economy workers and users on the treatment of employees. 

“As the economy grows, and work and the type of jobs change, there’s something they have to abide by,” Healey said. “We need to continue to treat workers fairly in this country, we need to make sure they’re not exploited.” 

Healey’s lawsuit, which was first announced in July 2020, asserts that rideshare drivers and similar workers should qualify as employees rather than independent contractors under Massachusetts Wage and Hour Laws.

In the lawsuit, Healey said her fair labor team determined that, under state law, gig workers should have access to minimum wage, earned sick time and other benefits and labor rights an employee would have. In March, the Suffolk Superior Court denied Uber and Lyft’s motion to dismiss Healey’s lawsuit. 

“Yes, gig workers and the gig economy are super convenient for all of us as consumers, right. There’s a price for that. And as we move forward with this gig economy, certain principles have got to abide. That’s why we have employment laws here in Massachusetts, and that’s why I’m in court against Uber and Lyft,” she said.



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This futuristic gig platform is owned by workers who keep 100% of earnings – The Hustle

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Five basic but essential steps to help take your side gig to the next level

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The pandemic isn’t crushing the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s fuelling it.

People normally tied to a desk or working double shifts used lockdown to launch side hustles, often out of necessity. And some have turned those side gigs into full-fledged businesses.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 427,842 new business applications were filed in August 2021 alone. That figure was 288, 026 in August 2019.

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While a side gig can be spontaneous, growing a legit business requires research, planning and organization. Otherwise, your fledgling enterprise could crash and burn in a couple of years.

These basic but essential steps can help you take things to the next level and give your new venture a shot at staying power.

CHOOSE A BUSINESS STRUCTURE

There are six common types of business entities: sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited partnership, C corporation, S corporation and limited liability company. The option you choose determines how your business is taxed, as well as who is financially responsible if your business is sued.

Entrepreneurs often default to sole proprietorship because it’s the easiest, but it’s also the riskiest, says Nellie Akalp, CEO and co-founder of corpnet.com, a document filing service that helps streamline the business formation process for entrepreneurs.

“There is no registration required nor are there corporate requirements,” Akalp says. But “there is no legal separation from the company, so the sole proprietor is personally responsible for any debts or liabilities.”

Registering as an LLC or corporation is more expensive and requires more paperwork, but it shields your personal assets from lawsuits.

OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Mixing business and personal finances can get messy, especially when it comes to filing taxes or securing a business loan. Open a business checking account to keep business income and expenses organized and easily accessible.

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Look for a business account that has low or no monthly fees and fits your business needs in terms of transaction and deposit limits.

A business credit card can also help you track expenses and identify tax deductions. Plus, you can earn rewards, like cash back on gas, office supplies and business consulting services.

UPGRADE YOUR BOOKKEEPING

No more manual spreadsheets or shoeboxes full of receipts; scale up to an accounting software that can do some of the heavy lifting for you, like tracking cash flow, managing invoices and generating reports.

Expect a learning curve with any new system, but know that it will help your operation run more smoothly. The right accounting software can also give you deeper insights into your business and help you identify weak points and opportunities to save money.

“Accounting is the language of business, so invest time and money into understanding how to do your books,” says Danetha Doe, founder of Money and Mimosas, a financial education platform for independent contractors, freelancers and small-business owners. “As a business owner, learning how to manage your company’s finances, read profit and loss statements, and understanding cash flows will make you a better entrepreneur.”

SPELL OUT YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Your side hustle may have started organically, but turning it into a full-fledged business requires research and planning.

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Sketch out short – and long-term goals for your business, along with a sales plan, financial projections and potential roadblocks. Be realistic, set specific targets and spell out how you plan to reach them.

Building a business plan gives you a road map for how to grow your business. It also shows lenders you’ve done your homework should you need to secure a business loan.

Need help with your business plan? Turn to your local Small Business Development Center. These outposts are run by the U.S. Small Business Administration and offer free business consulting services.

INVEST IN PROFESSIONAL HELP

Entrepreneurs, by nature, wear many hats. But you don’t need to wear all the hats.

Outsourcing some aspects of your business frees you up to focus on other things, like customer service or product development.

Not hip to social media? Consider hiring someone to build and manage your business’s presence on Instagram, TikTok and the like.

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Do tax forms make your eyes cross? Invest in a certified public accountant to file for you.

“CPAs may be more expensive than doing taxes on your own, but it will be done right,” says John Pham, founder of The Money Ninja, a personal finance website. “Plus, they will maximize your tax deductions, which will most likely give you a higher return than the cost of a CPA.”

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

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