Figuring Exchange: Art and Money

Contemporary Arts Center
University of California, Irvine
October 2013

Figuring Exchange was supported by the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion.

How is money more than mere container and conveyor of value? What happens to money we destroy, alter, or simply stop using? How do the materials and the making of money matter? Artists and craftspeople are highly attuned to these questions of money, aesthetics, and exchange. Political cartoonists offer direct  commentary on the dramas of money; conceptual artists play with money’s materials and meanings through theory and technique; non-Western valuables make apparent the close connection between the making of objects and the making of value. Centered on a series of large-scale works by Argentinean artist Máximo González, the exhibition also includes the art of trompe l’oeil painter G.B. Tate and others,  as well as a variety of money and non-Western valuables. Figuring Exchange presents this assemblage of objects to explore the perspectives they offer on questions of materiality, value, and exchange, and to reflect on money’s making, meanings, and artful transformation. 

Curator's statement