Art and Money

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Overview


In our age of art as investment and of skyrocketing prices at the gallery and the auction house, the study of art and money has become urgent—at least for investors and cultural critics. At the same time, crises in finance have disrupted economic and credit institutions and in turn assumptions about the value of art. Art & Money is a frank, provocative, and entirely unconventional look at two worlds in tandem, focusing on what binds together and drives apart the realms of art and money. Profusely illustrated, it investigates how money becomes (or is) artwork and how artwork comes to assume some of the characteristics of money.

Unlike traditional approaches to the topic, Art & Money is not a study of money and exchange as an artistic "theme." It is also not a study of economics as a context for the history of art. Rather, it is a path-breaking exploration of the internal logic—the set of meanings and values—common to both money and art.

Art & Money provides striking insight into current matters of art collection, counterfeiting, and problems of attribution, into the general relation between word and image, and into controversies over taxation and crises or scandals in the financial world. Shell's historical range is immense, and he fills this study with amusing anecdotes and insights ranging from the relic of the Holy Foreskin to the state's arrest of J. S. G. Boggs, a conceptual artist who draws money. Illustrated with over one hundred halftones and eight color plates, this stunning volume will force a rethinking of our old presumptions about where money ends and art begins.

A frank, provocative, and entirely unconventional look at two worlds in tandem--the realms of money and art. Profusely illustrated, the book investigates how money becomes or is artwork and how artwork comes to assume some of the characteristics of money. 9 color plates; 100 halftones.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Harvard comparative literature professor Shell maintains that art and commerce are inseparably linked. This erudite, anecdotal study begins by investigating early Christianity's ambivalent attitude toward wealth and the material realm, as reflected in the Eucharist wafer manufactured and understood as ``the coin that is Christ'', the Holy Grail, Roman coins, the art of scribes who wrote inscriptions in golden ink on parchment and the medieval cult of the ``Holy Foreskin'' removed from Jesus's body eight days after his birth, according to Luke. Shell then examines the 19th-century debate between advocates of U.S. paper money and backers of gold specie. He inspects the aesthetics of counterfeiting, the clever art of trompe l'oeil paper money and the ``dematerialization of the artwork'' in minimalist and conceptualist painting and assemblage. More than 100 halftones and nine color plates included here feature works by Andy Warhol, Thomas Nast, Gustav Klimt, Uccello, Joseph Beuys. June
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226752136
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 230
  • Product dimensions: 8.76 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
1. Introduction
2. Art and Money: Christianity
Icon and Inscription
Eucharist Wafer
Communion Token
The Holy Grail
The Golden Annunciation
The Holy Foreskin
Aurum and Aura
Tax Advice
The Numismatic God
Chrysography
3. Representation and Exchange: America
Pretty Money
The Money Devil
The Issue of Representation
Visual Trumps
Counterfeits
The End of the Matter
4. Conclusion
Accounting for Art
What Still Matters
Notes
Works Cited
List of Artists Discussed
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