Money determines much of our lives and actions through forming the basis of our very existence in a Western Capitalist world. Within the context of art it is, however, a difficult issue to address.
Berlin based lawyer Stefan Haupt decided to construct his contemporary art collection around the topic of money after buying his first piece of art by the Taiwanese artist, Lee Mingwei. For the piece “Money for Art” (1997) Mingwei created several origami sculptures out of 10 dollar bills which he then gifted to different people from various backgrounds in order to see what eventually will happen to his sculptures in the future. Some owners used the work to buy ice cream or a pair of shoes, whilst others continued to cherish the dollar note as an art work. Like Mingwei’s piece, many of the works in Haupt’s 200-work-strong Haupt Collection criticize the capitalist values that dominate our financial system – or the art market for that matter.
The works from the collection highlight and reflect on social and economic grievances, historical events such as the German Reunification, as well as political issues arising from different monetary unions or economic crises. Carefully selected pieces by renowned artists such as Joseph Beuys, Georg Herold, Daniel Spoerri, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Lawrence Weiner, to name but a few, investigate into cultural differences and the role of the individual within society against the backdrop of the number one thing that makes the world go round.