Money Talks

cash-themed curated show is all about the money

Haley Wright

A PICTURE OF MONEY TALKS A THOUSAND WORDS. Medium of Exchange: The Art of Cash has an opening reception at the Janet Carson Gallery on March 31.
A PICTURE OF MONEY TALKS A THOUSAND WORDS. Medium of Exchange: The Art of Cash has an opening reception at the Janet Carson Gallery on March 31.

Medium of Exchange: The Art of Cash, an interesting and thought-provoking multimedia visual art exhibition, is set to be on display in the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center’s Janet Carson Gallery from March 25 through May 16. The show is curated by John Schuerman, a self-taught artist, curator, and gallery director for the Instinct Art Gallery in Minneapolis.

Medium of Exchange is all about the money, or more specifically, the human relationship to money. The artists’ work touches on themes of power, glamour, greed, community, identity, and more.

“Individually the artists explore a wide range of topics where money affects our behavior and how we represent ourselves,” Schuerman said. “Money enables and creates tension in our daily lives. We use it.  How we use it and how we get it define who we are to a significant degree.”

“Today, money is ubiquitous – physically, consciously, and subconsciously running through our daily lives. Money is the primary determinant of social class and is a crucial factor in how we see ourselves. ... Choices and subconscious thoughts of how to use our money – or make more – permeate our daily existence.” – John Schuerman, on the theme of money

Schuerman said the idea for the show came from his acquaintance Lia Rivamonte, who was then executive director at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in the Twin Cities. They were talking about money as a potential theme for a show, and because it was 2010, the height of the recession was on a lot of people’s minds.

“I like to produce shows that are socially relevant, so it was a perfect fit for me to curate,” Schuerman said. Between Schuerman and Rivamonte, they produced the show at Banfill-Locke in 2012. Shortly after, discussion began about bringing it to Eau Claire’s Janet Carson Gallery.

“Today, money is ubiquitous – physically, consciously, and subconsciously running through our daily lives. Money is the primary determinant of social class and is a crucial factor in how we see ourselves,” Shuerman said. “Unless you are ‘off the power grid’ (i.e., homeless), the money we owe continuously ticks upward. Choices and subconscious thoughts of how to use our money – or make more – permeate our daily existence.”

Medium of Exchange features pieces by nine Twin Cities-based artists, including Eric Lune, Karen Searle, and Rob McBroom, and no two artists or pieces are alike. The artists work in a wide range of media, conceptual frames, and aesthetic styles, such as street photography, painting, installation, crochet, collage, sculpture, and photography – which was part of Schuerman’s approach to curating the show.

“I think this gives the audience multiple ways ‘in’ to the show, and helps us explore the topic more fully,” he said. “There is a flash of realism and surrealism in all the work, I think.”

Schuerman said he hopes the exhibit inspires those who see it to take pause and reflect on their own relationship with money. He hopes the message viewers take away from the exhibit is that money is amoral. “It’s not good or bad, and yet our use of it can be good or bad, and an issue of morality. Use it with conscience,” he said.

In addition to seeing the show, the public is invited to a Meet the Artists’ Reception and Art Talk at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center at 5-7pm Thursday, March 31, featuring  a number of the artists whose work is on display, including Karen Searle, John Ilg, Eric Lunde, and a performance art piece by Rachel Breen.

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