October 23, 2019

Museum of Capitalism

Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design

Blake Fall-Conroy, Minimum Wage Machine, 2008–10, updated 2012, and 2016.

This fall, the Museum of Capitalism is bringing its path-breaking memorialization of capitalism to New York City, in an exhibition running October 30–December 10 at the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery in the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at The New School’s Parsons School of Design.

This latest iteration of the Museum of Capitalism features a dynamic mix of traveling artifacts and exhibits, supported by the Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award, as well as new loans and commissions from NY artists and other institutions. The exhibition traces a loose theme around borders and boundaries, both physical and conceptual—between nations, between what was known as “the economy” and related domains of political, social, and environmental concern, and between institutions like the Museum of Capitalism and The New School.

Exhibits and artifacts on display include American flags made by prison laborers, photographs of secretive international tax-havens, and a custom-made commemorative trophy of the US Treasury’s bank bailout. Visitors can see portraits and browse interviews with actual traders from stock exchanges around the world and witness a container of motor oil that continuously refills itself in a reverse chemical spill. Among various interactive exhibits are a hand-crank machine which allows visitors to experience “minimum wage,” and another which crushes pennies, similar to those once found at amusement parks and tourist sites. Items on loan from other collections include a series of objects from the US-Mexico border and the world’s largest collection of branded pharmaceutical pens. And from the museum’s own collection, on display for the first time: a rare limited-edition print of a work by the infamous street artist Banksy acquired through the website of the multinational corporation Walmart.

These and other exhibits and artifacts were created and collected by Daniel Bejar, Ben Bigelow, Dr. Jeffrey Caren, Center for Tactical Magic, Maia Chao, Cheyenne Concepción, Mark Curran, Jennifer Dalton, Sharon Daniel, Burak Delier, Clare Dibella, Blake Fall-Conroy, Paul Farber, Gabriele Galimberti and Paolo Woods, Marisa Morán Jahn, Nina Katchadourian and Julia Meltzer, Matt Kenyon, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Jessica Kingdon, Michael Mandiberg, Nyeema Morgan, Tim Portlock, Related Tactics, Eva Rocha, Sayler / Morris, Jesse Sugarmann, and Igor Vamos.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Museum curators are also organizing a series of separate Artifact Donation events, where members of the public are invited to make appointments to bring in objects, documents, and other artifacts from the era of capitalism to be considered for inclusion in future exhibitions and related programming. All items submitted for consideration receive photographic documentation and a brief consultation with museum curators and researchers. For more information about the donation process and to book an appointment (required), visit

The exhibition represents the culmination of a year-long engagement, in which curators co-taught history classes using the museum as a teaching tool and conducted collaborative research with New School students and faculty. The exhibition is supported by The New School’s Robert L. Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies, Eugene Lang College for Liberal Arts, and the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design. Additional support was provided by Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, and Culture Ireland.

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