Berlin exhibition on money’s power over art

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December 1, 2016 – Art must be free. But what happens when it gets caught up in the maelstrom of money and power? Does it let itself be corrupted, or does it find a way of maintaining its independence? The three-part exhibition, “Art Coins Money / MUSE MACHT MONETEN”, presents answers to these questions given by the artists themselves.
The German title “MUSE MACHT MONETEN” plays with an alliteration but most of all with the double meaning of the word “Macht”: uncapitalized, it can be understood as “makes”, while written with a capital it can be understood as “power”. Thus, the title tells us that the muse makes dirty money (“Moneten”), but also that there is a harsh contrast between the factors muse, power and money.
The exhibition of the Berlin Münzkabinett can be viewed until 27 May 2017 at the Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. 

Anna Martha Napp, “Der Teufel scheißt immer auf den größten Haufen / The Devil always shits on the biggest dump. (German proverb)”. Medal, bronze, 2015 © Photo: Reinhard Saczewski, graphical design: Jan Hawemann.

The first part of this medal-based exhibition takes a look back at the early 1990s, when sculptors from the former East Berlin grappled with the new social and economic climate and came up with innovative responses to it, cast in bronze. They worked on a variety of editions and projects as a way of reflecting upon their moods, fears, and intensely personal conflicts, which grew out of the apparent contradiction between capitalist (art) market forces and the artist’s personal autonomy.

The focus of the second part of the exhibition expands to include the rest of Germany, seen from a distance of 25 years. More than 30 people working in the art world, including sculptors, graphic designers, and freelance artists, responded to a call issued in 2014 for contributions to ta new edition of medals. The artists have created new pieces that explore themes raised by the exhibition, each acting as an individual statement bearing witness to their own personal experiences. 

The third part invites visitors to discover exhibits from the Haupt Collection “Dreißig Silberlinge – Kunst und Geld” (Thirty Pieces of Silver – art and money). For more than 20 years, Stefan Haupt has collected money art, and art about money, created by German and international artists. Selected graphic art, sculptures, installations and medals from his collection flank the show at the Bode-Museum.

This is the homepage of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

The medals of the Münzkabinett that form part of the exhibition can be viewed here.

And more information on the Haupt Collection is available here.