Jennifer Dalton

November 3, 2018 - January 12, 2019

CURRENCY is a major exhibition of local, national and international artists who, through a range of media,
reflect on our relationship with money and materialism. CURRENCY invites audiences to re-examine various
elements of contemporary economic systems as social constructs, as mythologies, and as complex frameworks
that often determine how societies value money, time, art and progress. It asks viewers to consider not only the
perceptions of how the circulation of currency impacts the economy but how money impacts creativity. What is
the value of art in a society powered by commodification? CURRENCY sheds light on the impacts of capitalism as
well as the value of art as a means of raising awareness and dialogue in response to current economic systems.
Artistic responses to financial crises contribute to our understanding of pronounced inequalities and dysfunctions
during times of crisis. Through the eyes of contemporary artists, this exhibition explores issues around money
and value in our current society. It provides a place for reflection on society’s priorities and how we live our lives,
at a time when art is so highly valued but artists often do not benefit financially and are increasingly left out of
key discussions regarding economic prosperity. Myths about money and value from various cultural and historical
perspectives help frame the exhibition and promote dialogue around topics of pricelessness/worthlessness,
quantity/quality and sacred/profane.

Featured artists include: Mel Chin, Christy Chow, Hernan Gomez Chavez, Jennifer Dalton, Nina Elder, Theaster
Gates, Scott Greene, Erika Harrsch, Yoshiko Shimano, Federico Solmi, Evan Desmond Yee and Debtfair artist
collaborative, among others. Some of these artists work with actual currencies, transforming them into art
objects, thereby changing and challenging the meaning and worth that society places on legal tender. Money
is a means of exchange, but when culture and art are involved, the exchange value of creativity is complex and
often contested. By examining the worth and value of culture versus currency, artists engage with the themes
of what is considered worthless and what is considered priceless. Culture, spirituality, creativity, quality of life
and health seem to be valued less than economic opportunity, yet are some of the most precious aspects of life.
A catalog with essays by the curators and a series of public programs will accompany the exhibition. Artists
and curators will engage Albuquerque residents, visitors and schools in talks, workshops, panel discussions and
other programs, creating a public discussion about the relationship between economics, the arts, and creativity.


Dr. Josie Lopez, Curator a 516 ARTS, was born and raised in Albuquerque. She received her B.A. in History and
M.A. in Teaching from Brown University. She completed an M.A. in Art History at the University of New Mexico
and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include examining art as a
discursive agent in the political arena, modern and contemporary Latin American art, 19th century France and
Mexico, and the history of New Mexican art with a focus on printmaking. Lopez recently wrote the book The
Carved Line: Block Printmaking in New Mexico and curated the accompanying exhibition at the Albuquerque
Museum. Lopez has been the Jacob K. Javits Fellow and an Eleanor Tufts Fellows. She has taught courses
on modern Mexico and the prints of Francisco Goya at SMU, and courses on the history of printmaking and
European art at the University of New Mexico.

Dr. Manuel Montoya is an Associate Professor of Global Structures and International Management at the
University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management. He was born and raised in Mora, New Mexico,
and received his B.A. in English Literature and Economics from the University of New Mexico. He has Master’s
degrees from Oxford University and NYU as a Truman Scholar and Rhodes Scholar. He received his Ph.D. at
Emory University in Foreign Relations and Comparative Literature as a George Woodruff Scholar and a UNM
Center for Regional Studies Fellow. His research interests mainly focus on a concept he refers to as “global
legibility,” the process whereby humans conceptualize the planet and make it a meaningful part of their
realities. This work incorporates ideas drawn from studies in Global Political Economy, Emerging Markets,
Creative Economy, and Critical Management Studies.

Image: Jennifer Dalton, California to New York, 2014, one year's worth of credit card offers, sealing wax in custom acrylic briefcase with rhinestone