It really is opening season right now. When a new year starts nearly every museum opens up new exhibitions. It’s a busy time for someone working in the art business. So last Friday I’ve been invited to the opening of Money, Good and Evil in Baden-Baden in the south of Germany. It is on view at Staatliche Kunsthalle, Stadtmuseum and Casino Baden-Baden. The neighboring theater is also involved and presents Wirtschaftskomödie by Elfriede Jelinek during the exhibition duration.
The exhibition is a very big thing being presented at three places and so the opening was also bigger than usual. It started at the Stadtmuseum where the history of the Monopoly game is shown. I loved that! There are all kinds of games and boards since it was invented in 1904 by the American Elizabeth „Lizzie“ Magie under the name The Landlord’s Game. The first idea of the game was to show people how dangerous monopols are for the society. So I guess you can call it one of the first serious games in the world. The patent was bought by the Parker Brothers in 1934 who renamed the game to Monopoly. The game itself never changed since then but of course there are several different editions today. I for myself have to admit I just love Monopoly and four different games of it. I never knew it was invented by a woman before and think that’s a really cool fact about it. Next to the exhibition the Stadtmuseum also has a gigantic Monopoly edition of Baden-Baden on the ground floor. Visitors are invited to play it during their stay.
After the start at the Stadtmuseum we went on to the Kunsthalle which is just a few steps away. There host the main exhibition. The fundamental premise of the exhibition is “Money is not ahistorical”. You can follow the visual history of economics of the last 750 years there. The ways in which money is depicted by artists have changed repeatedly over the centuries. It’s really interesting how money and people dealing with it were seen in different times. Sometimes they’re shown very positive by different artists and sometimes they were shown as the pure evil. I think we can all relate to the topic of money in some way. It’s such a big issue in our culture.
In contrast to the classical economic view, which postulated the existence of a Homo Oeconomicus as a constant over the centuries, the visual history of economics suggests that this figure reinvented itself again and again. This seems to raise the question of when our current understanding of money will once again change. Until far into the 20th century, there were almost no representations of money without references to social or moral aspects. This changed with Andy Warhol’s large-format serial depictions of dollar bills. And it changed again when the world economic broke down in 2008.
So at the last stop we had at that night, the Casino, are art works presented, which were created after the financial crisis around the Lehman Brothers in 2008. It’s a big contrast to show those in a casino where people gamble for money. Of course we also ended up gambling that night. I like casinos for their atmosphere but I would never go there on a regular basis. I work way too hard for my money to do that. But we had a lot of fun and I actually won a little bit.
This is an exhibition worth seeing!
#exhibition | Money, Good and Evil
#museum | Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Stadtmuseum Baden-Baden and Casino Baden-Baden
#until | June 19, 2016
At Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, artists: Dietisalvi di Speme, Lucas Cranach d. Ä., Dosso Dossi, Marinus van Reymerswaele, Bartholomaeus Bruyn d. Ä., Jan Wierix, Lucas van Valckenborch, Georg Flegel, Bartholomeus van Bassen, Pieter de Neyn, Theodoor Rombouts, Adriaen van Utrecht, Pieter Codde, Pietro della Vecchia, David Teniers d. J., Abraham Diepraem, Peeter van Bredael, Pieter van Anraedt, Giovanni Carlone, Johann Heiss, Edwaert Collier, Jan Verkolje, Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts, Johann Peter Hasenclever, Karl Wilhelm Hübner, Ludwig Knaus, Otto Edmund Günther, Ernst Henseler, Hans Richter, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Yves Klein, Timm Ulrichs, Hanne Darboven, Maria Eichhorn, Cildo Meireles, Sylvie Fleury, Aernout Mik, Christin Lahr, Pratchaya Phinthong, Zachary Formwalt, Adriana Arroyo, Ioë Bsaffot
At Casino Baden-Baden, artists: Hans-Peter Feldmann, Mark Flood, Liu Jianhua, Gabriel Kuri, Damien Hirst, Christoph Büchel, Hunter Jonakin, Adel Abdessemed, Axel Stockburger, Cheyney Thompson, Jochen Höller, Alicja Kwade, Benedikt Braun, Anahita Razmi, Hugh Scott-Douglas, Bewegung NURR, Superflex, RYBN.org