Libidinal Economies: Art in the Age of Bull Markets

Image: Benjamin Van Bebber and Bastian Zimmermann, The Great Ephemeral Skin film still, 2012

Libidinal Economies: Art in the Age of Bull Markets takes as its economic mise-en-scène the bull run market of 1982 (that crashed in 1987), tracing its origins in monetary policies of the 1970’s, and mapping its echoes in the recent redux of this bull run from 2009 to the present. The New York Stock Exchange (where the selling and buying of securities, currency and commodities takes place) and the art world (where the critique of Wall Street culture is derived and scripted) presumably constitute two distinct psychic and fiscal economies located in two different physical locations. The former is supposed to be rational, mathematical and regulated, the latter libidinal, creative and subversive. However, that isn’t true. The art world, in fact, has proven to be the bohemian substrate of the real deal, the bottom line, of the financial market. The gallery system, in the 80s and even more so recently, is the physical location – the center of mass – where these two celestial bodies effortlessly orbit each other with near mathematical precision. In this way, the economic and aesthetic spheres share a gravitational pull because they are – libidinally and economically – inextricably connected. Given so, Libidinal Economies showcases film works –experimental, narrative, and documentary – that are provoked by this cultural condition. As such, we are to consider these films as demonstrating various critical positions of resistance to the art market. But in so doing, this critique is made, naturally, from the inside, as there no longer is any way out of this closed system.


List of works:

Axel Stockburger and Christoph Meier,  "Il Grande Silenzio," 2014

Maura Brewer, "Zero Dark Birthday," 2014 and ":/nterstellar," 2015

Paul McCarthy with Mike Kelley, "Family Tyranny/ Cultural Soup," 1987

Hollis Frampton, "Nostalgia," 1973

Michael Snow, "Wavelength," 1967

Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy,  "Fresh Acconci," 1995

Yael Bartana, "True Finn," 2014

Constanze Ruhm,  "Crash Site: My Never Ending Burial Plot," 2010

Benjamin Van Bebber and Bastian Zimmermann, "The Great Ephemeral Skin," 2012


Film Series: Towards a Libidinal Aesthetics

Click here to see event schedule.



Juli Carson
Michael Moshe Dahan
Contemporary Arts Center Gallery
Exhibition Dates: 
Oct 03, 2015 to Dec 12, 2015
Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 2:00pm to 5:00pm