Erika Harrsch, Foreign Development Assistance (German Specimen)

Currency: What do you value?

November 17, 2018 – February 23, 2019

November 17, 2018 – February 23, 2019

Currency: What do you value? is a group exhibition that asks questions about the relationship between art and money, exploring the flaws of our current economic reality. The featured artists expose the complex relationships between currency and how society values or doesn’t value art, work and time. They employ wit and satire to reveal economic inequities and dysfunctions, and ask: how do materialism and corporate interests take precedence over human and environmental concerns? How do debt and money impact art and creativity?

Literary critic and philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin described the concept of the carnival as a subversive, disruptive, world-upside-down event in which the hypocrisy of everyday life was unmasked. During carnival, social structures including those that defined class and status were disrupted by common people. In Currency: What do you value?, artists turn assumptions upside down to re-examine our relationship to money and how we live our lives. 

The exhibition brings together national, international and local artists who engage with these themes through a variety of media and artistic approaches. In Debtfair, Occupy Museums continues their ongoing intervention that began at Art League Houston and appeared at the Whitney Biennial in 2017. The collective asks New Mexico artists how debt affects them and their art and uses collected data to explore the real impacts of debt at a time when U.S. credit card debt alone is over one trillion dollars. Albuquerque artist Leonard Fresquez has organized The New Booleggers: Fabricating (Im)Propriety, an installation in which 20 artists explore how high-end commodities are valued and question the worth of such products by producing knock-off versions of popular items.

New York artist Evan Desmond Yee fossilizes outmoded technologies including specific Apple products. He demonstrates how these objects, that have such a hold on us, quickly lose their novelty as they become obsolete. By placing the objects in a geologic context, he also raises questions around corporate influence, environmental neglect and a future in which nature reclaims its place over technology. Mel Chin’s Fundred project is continued as an outreach program with local schools involving hand-made currency used to raise awareness about lead poisoning.

Mel Chin, Christy Chow, Jennifer Dalton, Nina Elder, Ramiro Gomez & David Feldman, Hernan Gomez Chavez, Scott Greene, Keith Hale, Erika Harrsch, Steve Lambert, Lance Ryan McGoldrick, Occupy Museums, Yoshiko Shimano and Evan Desmond Yee.

The New Bootleggers Installation: 
Sven Barth, Raven Chacon, Marissa Chavez, Brendan Donnelly, Max Farber, Stefan Fitzgerald, Leonard Fresquez, Ry Fyan, Thomas Christopher Haag, Internet Discount Mall, Ken Kagami, Malcolm Kenter, Rye Purvis, Gregory Shimada, Jillian Stein, Jaime Tillotson & Scott Daniel Williams and Chase Witter.

Debtfair NM Installation by Occupy Museums: 
Jordan Alvarenga, Frank Blazquez, Caitlin Carcerano, Emma Casady, George Evans, Simone Frances, Tlacaelel Fuentes, Richard Garriot-Stejskal, Hank Jones, Bryan Konefsky, Patrick Manning, Lance Ryan McGoldrick, Danai Morningstar, Yvette Nary, Eden R, Carrie Ratkevich, Renée Romero, ADR, Simone Romero, Jasmine Vigil. 

Digital Display: 
Alec, B.C. Anderson, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Alex Athens, Chantel B, L. BaLoMbiNi, Hazel Batrezchavez, Mitch Berg, Beth Blakeman, Bollinger, Janet Bothne, Breanna Emerenciana Mora, Sean Burke, Lia Conzemius, Jeanette Cook, Lauren Deyo, Erin Elder, ELE, Elizabeth, Juana Estrada Hernandez, Ranran Fan, Tristano Farzan, Lane Fenner, Marie-Pier Frigon, Elliot M Fubar, Sean Paul Gallegos, Erin Galvez, Catherine Page Harris, Thom Hölzer, Emily Hutchings, Jennings, JG, Jordan Jirschele, Shirley K., Joanne Keane Lopez, Chuck Lathrop, Lorraine E. Leslie, Roe LiBretto, Lori Metals, Gerald Lovato, liliths love, Sonia Luévano, luke, Lucinda Lynch, Mezaland, Mark Migliaccio, Drew Miller, Billy Joe Miller, Mrs. Amnesia, Candy Nartonis, Nicky Ovitt, Allyson Packer, Vincent A Piazza, André Ramos-Woodard, Austin Reed, Kari Kaplan, Reeves, Sheldon Richards, Holly Roberts, Terri Rolland, Denise Weaver Ross, RT, David Rudolph, Sarah, Michael Schippling, Michael Sharber, Justin Thor Simenson, Myriam Tapp, Nick Tauro Jr., Nina Tichava, Piers Watson, Fehrunissa Willett, Robert Willits and Andre Woodard.


Josie Lopez, PhD, 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.

Manuel Montoya, PhD, 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.


Wesley Pulkka, “Currency: What do you value?” Fabrik Magazine

Briana Olson, “Currency: What do you value?” THE Magazine

Megan Kamerick, “Show examines the complex relationship between art and money”: Interview with Nina Elder and Josie Lopez by Megan Kamerick KUNM

Kathaleen Roberts, “Artists delve into complicated relationship between art and money”, Albuquerque Journal

Maggie Grimason, “Creative Economy: New exhibition asks where our values are: Interview with Noah Fischer of Occupy Museums” Weekly Alibi

  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    Currency: What do you value? Installation view. Occupy Museums, Debtfair New Mexico; Erika Harrsch, Currency Kites
  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    Occupy Museums, Debtfair New Mexico; (top left quadrant, left to right): Danai Morningstar, Eden R., Hank Jones; (top right, top to bottom) Simone Frances, Caitlin Carcerano, Yvette Nary, Frank Blazquez; George Pierre Evans, Patrick Manning, Carrie Ratkevich; (bottom left quadrant, top to bottom) Emma Rose Casady, Lance Ryan McGoldrick; Bryan Konefsky, Isabel Hees; Richard Garriott-Stejskal, Tlacaelel Fuentes; (bottom right quadrant top to bottom) Renée Romero, Jasmine Vigil, Jordan Alvarenga, AD
  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    Erika Harrsch, Foreign Development Assistance, One of a kind framed installation with eleven butterflies, three-dimensional hand painted and cutout butterfly prints on archival cotton paper, UV varnished and mounted on acrylic rods. Butterflies dimensions variable.Framed with museum quality acrylic box 28 x 30 x 6 3/4 inches; Inverted Sky, 2012, mixed media on canvas, acrylic, ink and collage on canvas, 78 x 96 inches
  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    Christy Chow, Come Run in Me II, 2017, mixed media video installation, dimensions vary
  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    Steve Lambert, Enduring Values, 2012, sign; Installation view Mel Chin, Operation Paydirt/Fundred Dollar Bill Project (Fundred Reserve of New Mexicio) 2006-ongoing
  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    The New Bootleggers installation view
  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    The New Bootleggers installation view (left to right) Leonard Fresquez, Brendan Donnelly, Thomas Christopher Haag, Brendan Donnelly, Ken Kagami, Marissa Chavez, Chase Witter, Rye Purvis, Malcolm Kenter
  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    The New Bootleggers installation view, Leonard Fresquez, Jillian Stein, Max Farber, Internet Discount Mall
  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    Mel Chin drawings on dollar bills, courtesy of Laura Fain
  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    Scott Greene, Deluge, 2017, oil on canvas on panel, 84 x 60 inches courtesy Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Mountsanto, 2018, oil on canvas on panel, 72 x 60 inches, courtesy Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    Evan Desmond Yee, Amber No.8, 2017, olympus camera, resin, concrete, 8 x 8 x 45 inches
  • image from Currency: What do you value?
    Yoshiko Shimano, Black Tears, Black Rain, 2017, woodcut, linoleum cut and wood monoprint, 45 1/2 x 192 inches