Money as Artistic Media: Coins of the Realm (illustrated lecture)

Here is a video ( of a presentation titled “Money as Artistic Media: Coins of the Realm” I gave at the Art and Money symposium at New Zealand’s Dunedin School of Art in August of 2013, as part of my ReImagining Money project.  I argue that artistic works that mobilize money (coins, bills, etc.) as a medium or theme implicitly (and occasionally explicitly) grapple with what Frederic Jameson calls the “totality” of capitalism: the interconnected nature of a capitalist economy which enmeshes economic, social, political and cultural processes. Money appears to be a means by which art can grasp or represent that totality, and I illustrate three strategies artists take towards the topic. But I argue that, inevitably, picturing capitalist totality is impossible and doomed to failure, yet there may be something productive and disruptive about that failure.