Economics in Art

Economics in Art

Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, Poland

16th  May – 29th  September 2013


Economics in Art is the third in the series of exhibitions presented by MOCAK the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, which link art with the most significant defining terms of civilisation, such as history, sport, science, religion or art. To date, two exhibitions have taken place: History in Art and Sport in Art. The series aims to present the – seemingly unambiguous concepts – through a variety of artistic interpretations; whilst highlighting the creative and symbolic potential of everyday life.

At first glance, the juxtaposition of economics and art may appear tricky. On the one hand, we have a pragmatic, cold – indeed, calculated – discipline; on the other – a private sphere, where unbridled imagination rules. And yet it turns out that economics does contain many aspects which artists find arresting, inspiring and provocative. The primary source of inspiration concerns the issue of value: how is value created? How can it be symbolised? In what way can it be manipulated? What provides the source of its artifice and assumptions?

Secondly, the inspiration stems from the ethics and mechanics of economic activity: to what extent economic success should justify ethical compromises? Should the rich feel guilty? Another source of inspiration is linked to the images of value such as bank notes and bonds. The relationship between economic problems and their effect on society further heightens the significance of the topic. Finally, artists contemplate how economics plays out in the art world: the nature of art market forces, what causes a work of art to be valuable and what it means to own a piece of art.

Since economics has proved such a rich seam of artistic inspiration, we have decided to show its relationship with art in an international exhibition of a few dozen artists; the exhibition made all the more topical by the global crisis.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a Polish-English publication, which will provide an in-depth analysis of the art – economics relationship, with a twofold focus: on the humanist aspect of economics and on the extent to which art depends on market mechanisms. The catalogue will have numerous illustrations. A large section will be dedicated to artists and their works presented at the exhibition and contain critical interpretations and texts by the artists themselves.