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This unique 'exhibition in a book' presents some of the most challenging art to deal with the place and function of money in the contemporary world. Arranged into themed 'rooms', it reflects a wide range of artistic attitudes and practices. Some artists depict or use real money directly in their work, while others explore its more abstract aspects, such as the way it circulates around the globe. Some make highly expensive objects from valuable materials or produce sculptural copies of luxury goods, but others go in the opposite direction, towards the amateurish and the handmade, to question the idea of monetary 'value'. Some present art as a usable consumer product like any other and make work that is almost indistinguishable from furniture or architecture, while there are some who produce art about the business of buying and selling commodities, including the commodity of art itself. But for others, however, art provides a means to explore and try out alternative possibilities that might one day challenge or even replace capitalism as we kw it.
Katy Siegel is professor of art history at Hunter College, CUNY in New York. A curator and frequent writer on contemporary art, she is also a contributing editor to Artforum. Paul Mattick is a professor of philosophy at Adelphi University in Long Island, New York, and a prominent art critic. He writes regularly on contemporary art, aesthetics and the relationship of art and commerce for a number of publications including Artforum, Art in America, Arts, The Nation and The New York Times.