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Alfredo Jaar
Culture=Capital, 2011
Work: 15 x 183 cm

Alfredo Jaar’s Culture=Capital directly references and builds upon Joseph Beuys’ claim ‘kunst = kapital.’ Beuys had an ongoing engagement with how art influenced and shaped society and politics, and believed that the creativity of each individual represented the capital, as well as the potential, of a society. Beuys condensed his theoretical musings into a formulaic equation that, in the form of multiples, became the bearer of his ideas. Jaar’s neon work expands on this seemingly simple equation to include the concept of culture. Within a social model, capital supports culture, while, vice versa, culture should be an essential part of our social capital. Particularly in times of financial crisis, when ever larger savings are being made in the cultural budget, Jaar offers that culture represents a society’s true capital. In addition to his reference to Beuys, Jaar also references his own installation, The Marx Lounge, implemented for the first time within the framework of the 2010 Liverpool Biennial and subsequently exhibited in 2011 at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Seville.