Imaginary Economics: Contemporary Artists and the World of Big Money

AuthorOlav Velthuis
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A British artist who destroys all his belongings, a Dutch artists initiative which charts organization cultures, a Swiss artist who sells his right to participate in an exhibition via an online auction, an American who prints his own money and then succeeds in spending it …. This book by the economics editor of Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, who is also an art historian, is about the ways in which contemporary artists represent economic processes.

The days when we believed that art and the economy were mutually exclusive or were meant to be are long gone. Contemporary artists do not simply express their ideas about the market or subsidy systems in the media, but also analyse and parody economic mechanisms in their work. This book demonstrates how this art can be read as a source of knowledge about our economy.

Thus the term imaginary economics: in their work, artists offer an alternative for the one-sided, neo-liberal discourse in the world of economics and in the media. The book offers a concise historical overview of such art. In addition, it shows that some artists are critical about the economy, while others take an outright affirmative position. And there are even artists who treat the economy as a form of play. The seriousness that surrounds the market? That needs an overhaul as soon as possible.