On November 16, 2018, my good friend and noted performance artist Skip Arnold and his wife, artist Olivia Primé, were illegally evicted from their home and studio in Marseilles (France). Following the collapse of two buildings that left 8 people dead and many injured (article in the New York Times
), local authorities had decided that they would condemn as unsafe any building about which they were unsure, including many that are not even in the same neighbourhood as the ones that had collapsed. Over 1500 residents of Marseille have thus found themselves without a home. A team of civil servants, followed by the police, forced Skip and Olivia to leave and welded the door shut of their recently purchased and renovated home and studio.
Over the past year, they took a loan as well as spent all their life savings on buying and renovating this new live/work space, in compliance with all city permits and codes. They had recently received the shipment of all their equipment, archives and artworks from the USA and had just settled in to enjoying their work and living space.
It may be as long as six months or more before they can hope to get temporary access back into their home and studio. They cannot work and earn a living without access to equipment and art. They had to hire lawyers to contest the condemning of their building. As of right now it looks like they might lose everything but they don’t want to give up without a fight.
All of Skip’s archives of his life’s work are in danger in an unoccupied building, water, rats and other things can ruin them. This has taken a toll, particularly on Skip who has health issues which are being made worse by the stress of this unfortunate situation.
A former recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, Skip is a pioneer in the history of performance and video art (http://skiparnold.com
). His work is in the permanent collections of The Getty Research Institute, The Ursula Blickle Video Archives, and other institutions and private collections. He remains a truly outstanding figure on the international scene of contemporary art.
Please help us provide some support for Skip and Olivia to help them get back on their feet and pay their legal bills. Any amount, however small, would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance!