Break Even is produced by Nicolás Guagnini, Gareth James, and Andrew Roth.
Guagnini and James proposed that Andrew Roth gallery place a full-page, blank advertisement in the 2006 summer issue of Artforum. They invited seven artists: Alejandro Cesarco, Rodney Graham, Jutta Koether, Guillermo Kuitca, Seth Price, Nancy Spero, and Lawrence Weiner to intervene on the blank ad. The seven original works constitute a “deluxe edition.” The balance of the print run of Artforum is considered the “popular edition.”
Content and advertisements in art magazines are intrinsically entwined. The magazine is a vehicle for converting symbolic capital (prestige by means of discourse) into financial capital (sales) and vice versa. Money does not suffice, the ads have to be up to the standards of the magazine’s agenda. In essence, they are “curated”. Another convergent but supposedly independent editorial agenda regulates artist’s projects, articles and reviews.
The art magazine has become a socially acceptable platform for representing and staging a conflict of interests that remains unspoken while being obvious. Break Even proposes that the ability to convert symbolic capital into financial capital – which in fact sustains the economy of the art magazine – is a means of production; and as such, artists should take it upon themselves to use the magazine as a site, a catalyst and a recipient for devising an exhibition and a work of art, hence creating value on their own terms.