Show Me the Money features works ranging from satirical eighteenth-century prints by William Hogarth, to newly commissioned pieces by a range of contemporary artists in an array of media: paintings, prints, photographs and videos. Here on the south coast, the exhibition will be shown simultaneously across the John Hansard Gallery and Chawton House Library; the latter once owned by Jane Austen’s brother, himself implicated in a financial scandal of the 1810s.
Show Me the Money: The Image of Finance 1700 to the Present poses the question, what does money really stand for, and how can ‘the market’ and the world of high finance be made visible? The exhibition charts how the financial world has been imagined in art, illustration, photography and other visual media over the last three centuries in Britain and the United States, and asks how artists have tussled with the intangible nature of money; from the South Sea Bubble of the eighteenth century to the global financial crisis of 2008.
The exhibition showcases many works created since the 2008 financial crash, including Molly Crabapple’s surrealist oil painting Debt and Her Debtors (2012-13), through to Goldin+Senneby’s installation Headless (2008), detailing the search for an offshore company that forms the basis for a ghost-written novel commissioned by the artists. There is a new version of Simon Roberts’ Credit Crunch Lexicon (2012), a wall-based text work that alphabetically lists words and phrases collated from political speeches, Bank of England papers, newspaper headlines and economic reports as a vehicle for political comment.
Other works include Zurich artist Robin Bhattacharya’s installation The Robin Currency™, featuring a fully functioning currency system, Thomas Gokey’s $49,983: total amount of money rendered in exchange for a Master of Fine Art Degree to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, pulped into four sheets of paper (2012), a work that the artist then sells himself for $5 per square inch, while Rhiannon Williams’ My Loss Is My Loss (2010-11) comprises a patchwork quilt of lottery tickets purchased over a decade highlighting blighted investment.
John Hansard Gallery sees a new commission by Cornford & Cross. Exploring the workings of ‘the market’ by drawing on natural and technological metaphors, these eerily beautiful prints, titled Lost Horizon, create a three-dimensional landscape that dramatizes the virtualisation of money. The work draws on financial data conducted with London School of Economics and American Express, with the artists employing CGI software to visualise fantasy landscapes, echoing the way traders now engage with the market through their trading screens.
Show Me the Money: The Image of Finance 1700 to the Present is initiated and curated by Peter Knight, Manchester University, Nicky Marsh, University of Southampton, Paul Crosthwaite, Edinburgh University and Isabella Streffen, Oxford Brookes University. The project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), with support from the University of Manchester, University of Edinburgh, and University of Southampton. Presented as part of a gallery and museum partnership, the exhibition is on show at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art until 30 August. After its presentation here in Hampshire in Autumn 2014, Show Me the Money will be on extended display at The People’s History Museum, Manchester in July 2015.
The show is accompanied by a fully illustrated 164pp book published by Manchester University Press, edited by Peter Knight, Nicky Marsh and Paul Crosthwaite.