In the artist’s studio there is a window. It looks out across industrial Brooklyn rooftops (morphing into luxury housing towers) to lower Manhattan – the temple of global finance. After the river of fortune forked in 2008 dividing mega-rich from everyone else in a new stage of capitalism, artist Noah Fischer finally began to respond to the view. As a first response, he left his studio and raised his voice, joining protesters in the streets. As a second response he returned to the studio to engage in the quiet practice of visual equivalency echoing cave painter’s scratchings to understand and survive the threats and forces of the primeval world through empowered representations. Fischer has taken derivatives, personal indebtedness, and the strange history of money as muse: amassing a hoard of relief sculptures resembling oversized coins or credit cards.
While today’s digital currency is no more visible than a wind blowing open the doors of speculation and astronomical profits for the 1%, coins are living fossils from ancient economies. They are physically rooted in the slowness of metallurgy and laborious design. They are little sculptures- miniature classical artworks that used to depict godheads (guaranteeing their value) and still today are loaded with power symbols of the state. The financial relief sculptures are scaled up to substantial size, usually twenty-inch diameter rendered roughly from wood, wax, paint, plaster, found objects, and steel. They are generally displayed in pairs on graphic “backdrops” which are sewn together from fabric and recycled billboards. Their alter-like presentation is reminiscent of holy icons from medieval religious art-of a time when art’s impact spread beyond its formal qualities and market value. And this work is indeed religious, professing a faith not in money, but in the spirit of artistic practice itself. The work presents a belief that art constitutes its own currency system. This collection is shown for the first time in the Treasure Room of the Interchurch Center.
Treasure Room Gallery, for hours call: 212-870-2200
Interchurch Center, 475 Riverside Dr, New York, NY 10115
November 12, 2015 -January 4, 2016