Wall Street (1980s)

Free Lunch

Free Lunch

Drexel Burnham Lambert Fiberglas/resin lunch tray with press-type lettering; 18" x 24"; 1985

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

handmade paper, spray paint, Kentile and collage; 60"w, 70"h, 36"d; figures cast from life; 1985

The Bottom Line: detail

The Bottom Line: detail

handmade paper, spray paint, Kentile and collage; 60"w, 70"h, 36"d; figures cast from life; 1985

Pennies from Heaven

Pennies from Heaven

handmade paper, acrylic paint, pennies, bubblegum and fabric; installation shown is 20'l, 14'h, 8"d; figures cast from life; 1987

Pennies from Heaven: detail

Pennies from Heaven: detail

handmade paper, acrylic paint, pennies, bubblegum and fabric; installation shown is 20'l, 14'h, 8"d; figures cast from life; 1987

Homeless Woman . . .

Homeless Woman . . .

"Homeless Woman Kills Wall Street Financier," handmade paper, pencil, cast paper, gesso, 8'h, 4'w, 12"d/each panel; figures cast from life; 1987

Homeless Woman: detail

Homeless Woman: detail

handmade paper, pencil, cast paper, gesso, 8'h, 4'w, 12"d/each panel; figures cast from life; 1987

Excess Assets

Excess Assets

handmade paper, Tyvek™, acrylic paint, black gesso, pencil, notebooks; 30'l, 4'h, 12"d; figures cast from life; 1988

Excess Assets: detail

Excess Assets: detail

handmade paper, Tyvek™, acrylic paint, black gesso, pencil, notebooks; 30'l, 4'h, 12"d; figures cast from life; 1988

On the Street

On the Street

"On the Street: A Lesson in Social Stratification," wood, gold enamel, concrete blocks and mixed-media. Standing male figures, 7'h; sitting female figures, 3.5'h; 1985

On the Street

On the Street

wood, gold enamel, concrete blocks and mixed-media. Standing male figures, 7'h; sitting female figures, 3.5'h; 1985

On the Street

On the Street

wood, gold enamel, concrete blocks and mixed-media. Standing male figures, 7'h; sitting female figures, 3.5'h; 1985

Previously Occupied

Previously Occupied

closing event for retrospective exhibition of Wall Street works; live feed from Highline Ballroom with Rev. BIlly; 2011

Previously Occupied

Previously Occupied

retrospective exhibition of Wall Street works at Art on the Avenue, Philadelphia, in 2011 with live feed from Highline Ballroom

Home of Model T

Home of Model T

handmade paper, acrylic paint; installation size varies; figures cast from life; 1983

Home of Model T: detail

Home of Model T: detail

handmade paper, acrylic paint; installation size varies; figures cast from life; 1983

Model T and Model A

Model T and Model A

handmade paper, acrylic paint; figures cast from life; 1983

During the 1980s, under the presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, I was laid off from a series of college teaching positions. I collected unemployment in several states, then moved home to New York City where I worked at a series of temporary secretarial positions on Wall Street. My experiences at Goldman Sachs, Carroll McEntee & McGinley, Standard & Poor's, Kidder Peabody and Drexel Burnham Lambert found its way into my artwork.

 

The Bottom Line is a series of cast paper rearends, collaged bureaucratic forms and institutional floor tiles in an installation about art, lotteries and unemployment. It was shown at Artcite Gallery in Windsor, Ontario and at Public Image Gallery in NYC.

 

Pennies from Heaven is an installation of gold-painted body fragments and text that was first shown at the Franklin Furnace. It addresses the feminization of poverty and trickle-down economics.

   

In Homeless Woman Kills Wall St. Financier, two black, scroll-like, paper panels frame stark, white male and female torso reliefs. Through texts taken from newspaper accounts of a murder on lower Broadway, it uses the anonymity of its subjects to contrast the powerful and the powerless. It was first shown at the Universit of Augusta in Maine.

 

Excess Assets was based upon my experience working for Jeff Beck, the "Mad Dog" of Drexel Burhnam Lambert. Thirteen black gesso-painted, cast paper rearends on a black movie screen-like background combine images from production stills from the movie Wall Street, and stories gathered during my work for him (some taken directly from his notes). It is shown here in an installation at Amos Eno Gallery in NYC.

 

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch is an actual DBL cafeteria lunch tray, stenciled with the aphorism.

 

On the Street: A Lesson in Social Stratification was sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. One dozen gold-painted, cut-out figures occuped the steps of Federal Hall National Monument — at the intersection Wall and Broad Streets — for one week. The installation demonstrated the hierarchy of economic classes that intersect in the financial district. Documentation of the piece appears in Upfront (Political Art Documentation/ Distribution, issue #11).

 

These works were included in a retrospective exhibition at Art on the Avenue Gallery in Philadelphia in the fall of 2011. Held as a fundraiser for Occupy Philly, it concluded with a live feed from the Highline Ballroom of Rev. Billy's debut performance of The Declaration of the Occupation.

 

Home of Model T, though not part of the Wall Street suite, nonetheless addresses economic issues. It was first shown in 1983 at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit in "The Demise of Opulence and the Death of Art."

All artwork on this site © Virginia Maksymowicz.

Most photographs are by Blaise Tobia or Virginia Maksymowicz

other photos are credited.

Some works are collaborative.

Some permissions for use and distribution

available through a Creative Commons License

Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivs 3.0