On Tuesday we toured the Colby College Museum of Art looking at artworks that had connections to the theme of Origins. Our guide Shalini Le Gall first talked about the Origins of art, more specifically visual art, she mentions that it is difficult to determine a specific time of the origins of art since art includes not only drawings and paintings, but also objects. Le Gall notes that many of the collections in the museum were from Maine and predominantly American art. Since there are many types of art, Shalini Le Gall, mentions it might be easier to examine the origins of abstract art or Avant-garde art.
We were asked to walk around the museum and look at some artwork. The most alluring art piece to me was the artwork called the “Wall of Lamentation XIII” by Santiago Montoya. The aesthetic appeal to this artwork was in the carefully folded rows of multiple international currencies that was cased in a stainless steel frame. Le Gall mentions that the artist intention of the artwork was to display that money was the cause of the dictatorial regimes that occurred in the countries of the currencies. Nations like DPRK, Soviet Union, Vietnam, and Uzbekistan had or still has dictator regimes where people live in fear, starvation, and lack of necessities. She mentions the artist was trying to say that money was the root of all evil and unethical behaviors. Le Gall also makes a connection to how the artist is a hypocrite because the artist, himself, is trying to sell his art for financial gains meanwhile criticizing the unethical motivation behind money and the art market.
Although I agree with the statement that Montoya tries to make with his artwork, I think there is more meaning to the artwork than saying that money is the root of all evil. Montoya’s artwork also gives meaning to the global economy and the financial system today. The endless amounts of paper bills folded in rows deliver a sense of astonishment but also uneasiness. The artwork reflected how extensive and interconnected the economy is because of globalization. Today the foreign exchange market is the largest market regarding trading volume, and the forex market affects almost all countries’ economy. The foreign exchange market has been known to be the closest example of perfect competition, however, because of the few that holds control over these financial markets, which are usually large international banks, the financial system is also fragile. The collapse of the financial system is just as dangerous as, if not more, than autocratic regimes. One country’s economy collapses this will affect other countries’ economy as well because of the world’s globalized financial system. Unlike autocratic regimes, the problem does not only pertain to the citizens of that country, but the crash of the global economy will affect billions of people all over the world. Therefore, it is imperative as we become a more global society that we have the right regulations in place, appropriate entities and agents to administer these regulations, and innovative financial institutions to pave new ways.