Money Worries: an exhibit ahead of its time?

Before leaving academia, I co-organized a powerful exhibit at the Art Museum entitled “Money Worries” with NO cooperation from either the Mendoza College of Business nor the Department of Economics, despite multiple, collegial efforts.

Imagine my surprise at seeing the the interesting article in today’s New York Times about how elite business schools (Wharton and Harvard among others) are now teaching the kinds of topics we were trying to put into circulation with the “Money Worries” exhibit! Things like scarcity and inequality, greed and salary inflation, with historical images of the cycles of rise and decline that are part of capitalism’s relentless demands for MORE. The artworks are fabulous, and there was even a game invented for the show, called the Landlord Game, which allowed visitors to experience that stomach-churning feeling of being broke and unemployed, out of money and out of luck…. or, perhaps more common among ND students, that soul sickness that comes from seeing other people slide into poverty while knowing it would not touch you, who are lucky to be part of rich and comfortable family….

Oh well, I guess we truly were in the avant-garde… and I wonder if ND will ever adopt such unorthodox ideas as corporate responsibility for the environment or the links between capitalism to inequality, suffering and greed… My guess is never!

Read it yourself:

It may be just a beginning, but it’s heartening just the same.

Photo credit: Artemio Rodriguez (Mexican, b. 1972), Avaricia, 2005, screenprint, 33.75 x 33.25 inches. Gift of Dr. Gilberto Cardenas, 2011.045.069


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