Here's What Went Down at BACARDÍ and Swizz Beats' No Commission Berlin
Last week, in the revamped industrial settings of Berlin’s Kraftwerk Rummelsberg, Swizz Beatz and BACARDÍ quietly went about the process of starting a movement that will help change the lives of artists worldwide. Or, at least, as quietly as any one can when Major Lazer, Kitty Cash and Swizz are all taking turns behind the decks over the course of the evening — the first of No Commission‘s three-day-long residency in the German capital.
An art fair with a very particular USP, No Commission has a double-headed mission objective — an event that looks to redress the disparity between the artist and the art business while changing the way in which people see that business day to day: as Swizz puts it, No Commission is “by the artists, for the artists, with the people.” While that may sound grandiose, there’s an undeniable truth to his words — as curator he has taken care in putting together the exhibition, none of the artists involved pay commission on the sale of their works (in fact, in only 18 months BACARDÍ has put almost $3 million directly into artist pockets with a view to doubling that figure) and all of the events in the series, which feature some of the biggest names in contemporary music, are free at the point of entry. As the rain pelted down outside, completely flooding buses and subway stations, inside — among the grates and levers of this uniquely repurposed Berlin space — paintings, photographs and mixed media pieces sat side-by-side against a backdrop more suited to assembling boxes than selling art, contrasting with the luxe BACARDÍ branding that hung over bars serving high-end cocktails and a crowd that Swizz later described as “the Coachella of the arts scene.”