American Art, Artwork Financialization and Cultural Mobility
On March 26, 2019, Erika Doss has published an article entitled “American Art Matters: Rethinking Materiality in American Studies” in Open Cultural Studies.
A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.
In her paper, Erika Doss has delineated the implications of the growing attention to materiality in cultural studies, while focusing on its meaning in relation to mobility and financialization “in American art history and American Studies” (75). Furthermore, this research concentrates on One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate), a work of American Pop art by Andy Warhol, which was “the first of his many pictures focused on the mundane and rarely examined objects and images of everyday American life (such as his Soup Can paintings, which were also made in 1962)” (75). Likewise, Doss traces the history of “Jackson Pollock’s first major large-scale [Abstract Expressionist] painting, titled Mural,” which was commissioned for a private collection in 1943.
As this researcher highlights, “[i]n the mid-1960s, the painting was relocated to a […] prominent location in the main university library, and in 1969, it was moved to the University of Iowa Museum of Art, where it became the celebrated centrepiece of a public gallery housing some 14,000 works of art” (76), after which, upon a restoration period, in 2015-2016, “the painting travelled to Venice where it was installed at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection […] [and to other] museums in Berlin, Malaga, London, and Bilbao” (77), while enjoying strong audience attention.
In this respect, Doss states that “the monetisation of Jackson Pollock’s Mural in 2008, and then again in 2011, when Iowa legislators proposed […] a plan to sell the painting to cover some of the state’s revenue shortfalls, suggests that American art is largely considered on fundamentally financial terms today” (77). Furthermore, the researcher claims that, “despite the economic crisis that began in 2007, money’s dominance in American culture—as an arbiter of artistic value, as an incentive among contemporary artists, and as the material stuff of art itself—has never been stronger or more visible” (77).
Similarly, Doss notes that “n 2015, Warhol’s One Dollar Bill was sold to an anonymous telephone buyer at Sotheby’s London for $32.8 million […] [which] attests to the mutability and mobility of material culture in modern capitalism, and how the meaning of things today is typically embedded in market economics” (76).
By Pablo Markin
Featured Image Credits: A Touch of Iowa at NGA, May 23, 2018 | © Courtesy of Phil Roeder/Flickr.