Bankrupt Artists lesson n°... 2008 - 2016
2016 ©Hervé Véronèse Centre Pompidou
Contemporary society has increasingly shifted the concept of failure from being a learning
opportunity to a losing game. I consider this as a fundamental issue of our time, provoked by
a system that privileges newly made production over transformation.
Bankrupt Artists, lesson nr° … started in 2007, motivated by the personal life of my father
and inspired by Samuel Beckett’s quote: “To be an artist is to fail, as no other dare fail".
In 2008, when I was still a student, as an intervention inside the ordinary program of the
school, I proposed my former professor to hold a lecture about ‘failed artists’, as a way to
think about a possible history of ‘failed artists’ that the official history of art does not take into
The initial enthusiasm of the professor did not last long, as he gradually became more
concerned about the public image of himself and other artists. The start of the project was a
failure in itself. Considering this first failure as part of the nature of the project, it was not until
2009 when Cesare Pietroiusti took on the role of the teacher of Bankrupt Artists, lesson nr°
… at IUAV University Venice. Since then, several lessons have been taking place at Fine Art
Academies, Universities and High Schools like Academia Albertina Turin, Liceo Artistic,
Genova, NABA in Milan, the Academy of fine Arts in Florence, and in 2016 it was presented for
the first time inside a museum at Centre Pompidou, Paris.
The lecture is activated by one of the member of staff of a University, School, or Art Academy
or a curator and aims – in the long term – to bring the concept of failure into the curricula of
Universities or Fine Art Academies and Museums.
N° 1 Failled