Snake Food Service

Like many humans without education or credentials, you get a job in the food service industry. Your wages are surprisingly low; you work long hours; your employer demands a share of gratuities; you are not paid for overtime; and you receive no health care or pension benefits. In this life, it is hard to imagine any future; when you try, all you can see is hard work, trouble and sadness.

You are given hope when various factions of your co-workers mobilize, meeting secretly to organize for better conditions. There is disagreement among the group members as to the proper institutional form your organizing should adopt. Should you form a union, or is there some alternative? An employment lawyer has covered the backside of local buses with advertisements touting his many lucrative litigation successes, and one of your co-workers has spoken to him about the group's workplace-organizing efforts. The lawyer hangs about, barnacle-like, making thinly-veiled suggestions that you and your colleagues should pursue a class action lawsuit with his firm. In the meantime, your Assistant Manager has made clear his inappropriate sexual interest in snakes. He has offered you a promotion in exchange for your "services," plus information on the potential lawsuit and the workers' organizing efforts. Your options are:

Encourage your fellow workers to form a unionVolunteer to become a named plaintiff and class representative in a wage-and-hour class action lawsuit on behalf of your fellow workers Accept the Assistant Manager's offer


Mum & Dad Show

Tom Morton

Dear Tirdad,

Some time ago (perhaps over a beer in London) we discussed the possibility of a project in which art writers would return to a piece of their published writing and correct the things about it that they now found unsatisfactory. This unrealized project has now emerged in somewhat different form in the new online journal you are editing, which, as I understand it, will include curators revisiting a prior exhibition. We’ve talked, I think, about my reluctance regarding the latter. Exhibitions to me are always, and perhaps inevitably, vaguely unsatisfactory on some level or another, but this is at least sometimes for reasons outside of my control: the vicissitudes of space, budget, shipping, the marketing strategy of a host institution, and all the other familiar factors. What interests me is the prospect of participants taking a look at something they are absolutely accountable for, and finding in it something they regret.

My response then, is this: to send you the textual material that accompanied a 2007 exhibition I curated at Cubitt Gallery, London, of work by my mother and father (they are, I should stress for readers new to this show, not at all well known). Of all the writing I’ve produced to accompany my shows, this is in some senses the most regrettable, both professionally and personally. I have had second thoughts about this material, and third and fourth thoughts, too, but then I was never quite sure of it in the first place, although I very much wanted to be so.

With my best wishes as always,



Tom Morton is a writer, contributing editor of frieze and curator at the Hayward Gallery, London. He is also co-curator (with Lisa Lefeuvre) of “British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet.”

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