Image: Christy Chow, Come Run In Me (from the Laborland series)
CURRENCY is a major exhibition of local, national and international artists who, through a range of media, reflect on our relationship with money and materialism. CURRENCY invites audiences to re-examine various elements of contemporary economic systems as social constructs, as mythologies, and as complex frameworks that often determine how societies value money, time, art and progress. It asks viewers to consider not only the perceptions of how the circulation of currency impacts the economy but how money impacts creativity. What is the value of art in a society powered by commodification? CURRENCY sheds light on the impacts of capitalism as well as the value of art as a means of raising awareness and dialogue in response to current economic systems. Artistic responses to financial crises contribute to our understanding of pronounced inequalities and dysfunctions during times of crisis. Through the eyes of contemporary artists, this exhibition explores issues around money and value in our current society. It provides a place for reflection on society’s priorities and how we live our lives, at a time when art is so highly valued but artists often do not benefit financially and are increasingly left out of key discussions regarding economic prosperity. Myths about money and value from various cultural and historical perspectives help frame the exhibition and promote dialogue around topics of pricelessness/worthlessness, quantity/quality and sacred/profane.
Featured artists include: Mel Chin, Christy Chow, Hernan Gomez Chavez, Jennifer Dalton, Nina Elder, Theaster Gates, Scott Greene, Erika Harrsch, Yoshiko Shimano, Federico Solmi, Evan Desmond Yee and Debtfair artist collaborative, among others. Some of these artists work with actual currencies, transforming them into art objects, thereby changing and challenging the meaning and worth that society places on legal tender. Money is a means of exchange, but when culture and art are involved, the exchange value of creativity is complex and often contested. By examining the worth and value of culture versus currency, artists engage with the themes of what is considered worthless and what is considered priceless. Culture, spirituality, creativity, quality of life and health seem to be valued less than economic opportunity, yet are some of the most precious aspects of life. A catalog with essays by the curators and a series of public programs will accompany the exhibition. Artists and curators will engage Albuquerque residents, visitors and schools in talks, workshops, panel discussions and other programs, creating a public discussion about the relationship between economics, the arts, and creativity.
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Dr. Josie Lopez, Curator a 516 ARTS, was born and raised in Albuquerque. She received her B.A. in History and M.A. in Teaching from Brown University. She completed an M.A. in Art History at the University of New Mexico and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include examining art as a discursive agent in the political arena, modern and contemporary Latin American art, 19th century France and Mexico, and the history of New Mexican art with a focus on printmaking. Lopez recently wrote the book The Carved Line: Block Printmaking in New Mexico and curated the accompanying exhibition at the Albuquerque Museum. Lopez has been the Jacob K. Javits Fellow and an Eleanor Tufts Fellows. She has taught courses on modern Mexico and the prints of Francisco Goya at SMU, and courses on the history of printmaking and European art at the University of New Mexico.
Dr. Manuel Montoya is an Associate Professor of Global Structures and International Management at the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management. He was born and raised in Mora, New Mexico, and received his B.A. in English Literature and Economics from the University of New Mexico. He has Master’s degrees from Oxford University and NYU as a Truman Scholar and Rhodes Scholar. He received his Ph.D. at Emory University in Foreign Relations and Comparative Literature as a George Woodruff Scholar and a UNM Center for Regional Studies Fellow. His research interests mainly focus on a concept he refers to as “global legibility,” the process whereby humans conceptualize the planet and make it a meaningful part of their realities. This work incorporates ideas drawn from studies in Global Political Economy, Emerging Markets, Creative Economy, and Critical Management Studies.