Constance Mallinson's Free Painting concludes a nine-part, nineteen-month series exploring the expanded field of painting. Free Painting was conceived as an experiment to investigate the perception and acquisition of painting outside the current art market by which the gallery and museum system defines access to artworks. Removing money from the equation, an exhibited painting entitled “Raft” by Constance Mallinson was given away after interviews with ten selected applicants of diverse backgrounds who had submitted an online application to receive the painting for free.
Over the course of two days, Mallinson met with these individuals and conversed about what the painting meant to them as well as its possible destination. The participants included an inner-city public arts magnet teacher, an architect, an administrative judge, a breast cancer surgeon, a representative of an Iraq war veteran, a number of acclaimed Los Angeles artists, and a collector chef.
In the end, Mallinson turned over the final decision about who should receive the painting to a panel of art professionals including a critic, two art historians, a gallerist, a curator and two artists. These six individuals met to discuss the interviews and debate ideas of ownership, appreciation of the actual painting, and appropriate placement.
The exhibited video, which replaces the painting formerly on view, documents the process.