AboutShow Me The Money asks what does 'the market' look like? What does money really stand for? How can the abstractions of high finance be made visible? The exhibition charts how the financial world has been imagined in art, illustration, photography and other visual media over the last three centuries in Britain and the United States.
The project asks how artists have grappled with the increasingly intangible and self-referential nature of money and finance, from the South Sea Bubble of the eighteenth century to the global financial crisis of 2008. It features works ranging from satirical eighteenth-century prints by William Hogarth and James Gillray to newly commissioned works by artists Goldin+Senneby, Cornford & Cross, Immo Klink, Simon Roberts, and James O Jenkins, as well as the first UK exhibition of international artists such as Molly Crabapple. The exhibition includes an array of media: paintings, prints, photographs, videos, artefacts, and instruments of financial exchange both 'real' and imagined. Indeed the exhibition also charts the development of an array of financial visualisations, including stock tickers and charts, newspaper illustrations, bank adverts, and electronic trading systems.
Show Me The Money demonstrates that the visual culture of finance has not merely reflected prevailing attitudes to money and banking, but has been crucial in forging - and at times critiquing - the very idea of 'the market'. The exhibition tours three distinct regions of the country, beginning at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, close to the HQ of Northern Rock, where in an English context the financial crisis of 2008 began. It is then shown across two sites simultaneously: John Hansard Gallery, part of Southampton University, and Chawton House Library in Hampshire, which was owned by Jane Austen's brother, himself implicated in a financial scandal of the 1810s. In 2015 the show continues to the People's History Museum in Manchester, a national museum that houses material history from the union and co-operative movements.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated 164pp book, published by Manchester University Press and edited by Peter Knight, Nicky Marsh and Paul Crosthwaite. The publication provides a wider set of contexts - professional, intellectual, political, literary and artistic - that inform the exhibition. The authors examine the history and politics of representations of finance through five essays by academic experts and curators alongside five commissioned contributions by notable public commentators on finance and art. The writers include Andy Haldane, the Executive Director of Financial Stability at the Bank of England, who asks us What do you think about when you think about a 'market'?"