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Opening Reception, Stephen Barnwell: Capital Offenses

Date(s) - 08/16/2019
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Monmouth Museum

NJ Emerging Artists Series

Divided States

Stephen Barnwell • Capital Offenses Digital Prints with Mixed Media
August 9 – September 8, 2019

Opening Reception: Friday, August 16th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Gallery Talk: Wednesday, August 21st, 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Two Books Signings at Opening Reception and Gallery Talk:
Capital Offenses – A ten year retrospective of the political satire of Stephen Barnwell
Moneyart – The only complete collection of Stephen Barnwell’ s Moneyart

Gallery Hours: Tues – Sat, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm & Sun, 12:00 – 5:00 pm. Admission $8

Artist statement:
The events of 9-11 awoke within me a political consciousness, and for almost twenty years I have been creating moneyart to comment on social and political events. I feel that artists should observe the world around them and speak the truth as they see it.

Money is the Prime Mover of our culture. It dictates the world of business, determines government policy, and even drives our own behavior. Money is a powerful symbol in all societies, and its iconic imagery can be a potent voice of social and political commentary that speaks across all borders. Moneyart is also an inherently transgressive and subversive genre. Since only governments are allowed to create money, I am appropriating the authority of the government: I am stealing the voice of power to criticize power.

As citizens – and consumers – we have all been conditioned since childhood to see the inherent value in these pieces of paper called money, and to treat money with an almost reverent desire. The genre of moneyart uses the visual vocabulary of currency and financial documents to exploit that emotional response, and I use that response to enhance the power of my work and my messages. Further, I take great joy in deconstructing iconic national symbols, subverting them for the purposes of satire. I believe that national icons need challenging to remain living symbols, rather than brittle, lifeless dogma.

Beyond that of ordinary two-dimensional art, Moneyart has the properties of a familiar object or thing – e.g.: currency, stamps, or stock certificates – which adds new meanings and connotations to the experience of the artwork. Resembling a form of currency gives the art a sense of purpose or functionality, as well as a false sense of history or authority.

Image: Dread & Circuses, digital print