Special Seminar – “Money and Representation”
This seminar will begin on Wed 9/24 and end on Wed 10/22.
“Money,” T. J. Clark has written, “is the root form of representation in bourgeois society.” The proposition turns on the set of questions it raises, about markets and money flows, about value and its abstraction, about whom money belongs to, about the “social reality of the Sign” and the effect money has on artmaking. Money, by the statement’s end, becomes a central form – maybe the central form – of modern life. Over the last 15 years – the sentence comes from Farewell to an Idea – the urgency of these questions has only intensified, obliging us, in turn, to confront them anew, to ask them anew. This 5-week seminar, offered in conjunction with the conference Modern Money: Aesthetics after the Gold Standard (October 23-24, 2014), provides a space in which to begin that process. “Money” will be construed in a broad sense, as cash and coin but also as such derivative things as pawnshop tickets, stock certificates, and advertising copy – money, as it were, not only as currency and commodity, as medium of exchange, but also, and perhaps fundamentally, as a form constituted by the social relations of credit and debt. The seminar, then, has two interrelated goals, two interrelated projects: on the one hand, to account for the various shapes – the various looks – the money-form has taken in the modern period and, on the other, to reassess the effect money, as root form of representation, has on our dealings with art and aesthetics.