Wall Street (1980s)

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 photography is by Blaise Tobia.

Some works are collaborative.

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available through a Creative Commons License

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