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Art in the Age of Financial Crisis

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This issue addresses the long financial crisis of 2008 and the nature and diversity of artistic responses to it. This financial crisis is understood as a globalized result of late capitalism that nonetheless is experienced differently at local, regional, and national levels. It is multi-faceted in nature, a phenomenon that has historical roots and precedents that inform contemporary responses. Artists are not restricted to engage with the economy through one specific vehicle of inquiry or one type of medium and message. Therefore, the central question that this issue poses is: what is the artist’s role in finance, crisis, and the economy? Should artists: fix the economy; explain it; attempt to alter it; reject it; participate in it; or none of the above? The articles, artists’ projects and interviews presented here attend to these questions through a wide-ranging lens including: studies of historical precedents such as the Great Depression of 1929 and currency crises in Latin America in the 1970s; artistic direct interventions within financial systems that reveal and challenge their opaque processes and value systems; alternative currencies highlighting the neo-colonialism of global financial markets; and blockchain-based rethinking of art market ownership models. These multi-faceted projects spanning different time periods and geographies offer crucial and distinct theoretical positions. This issue, which saw its origins in a panel for the 2017 College Art Association Conference in New York City, adds to scholarship on these pressing topics and seeks to foster a continued discourse on the intersections of art and financial crisis.
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Keywords: Art Market; Capitalism; Contemporary Art; Economics; Financial Crisis; Globalization; Politics

Document Type: Introduction

Publication date: April 3, 2018

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