A mischievous installation at Art Basel turns personal wealth into a video game

Few people love pointing out the paradoxes between art and commerce as much as the artists themselves. At this week’s Art Basel in Miami Beach, a piece by the aptly named Brooklyn group MSCHF found a new and amusing way to explore this conflict.

A working ATM displays each user’s cash balance on a video screen. It then maintains a ranking so that the person with the most dough gets the top spot. It’s very similar to playing coin-operated video games, but instead of awarding kudos for blowing up asteroids, it’s based on how quickly your wealth management team got you out of crypto.

Here you can see DJ diploma participate in the fun. After a performance by Rich Onkel Moneybags a/k/a Mr. Monopoly – that certainly falls under “fair use” – you can see that he has over three million in his checking account and became a high scorer.

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Daniel Grunberga co-founder of MSCHF, told NPR that work called ATM Leaderboard, sold for $75,000. Where and if the object appears in the future is up to the new owner (whose name has not been revealed), but the top scorers on the leaderboard remain after each presentation “to encourage people to outdo previous users”.

Greenberg also called the piece “an extremely literal distillation of wealth-displaying impulses” and said that “from its conception we intended this work for a place like Miami Basel, a place where there is a dense concentration of people who rent Lamborghinis and wear Rolexes.”

Previous notable MSCHF plays include Spot’s Rampagein which a Boston Dynamics robotic dog was outfitted with a paintball gun naming unlicensed Nike shoes Satan’s shoes created in collaboration with Lil Nas Xand large-scale paintings based on ridiculous hospital bills, which were then sold to pay off donors’ debts.

ATM Leaderboard (which in turn is a working ATM) was created in partnership with Perrotin, a gallery with outposts in New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai and Las Vegas. In 2019, Perrotin brought an Italian artist with him Maurizio Cattelan‘s comedian to Art Basel, which consisted of a banana tube taped to a wall. Two of the three copies sold for $120,000, but another was torn down and eaten by a Georgian artist David Datuna in an unannounced site-specific performance piece called hungry artist.

In an interview, Datuna said he doesn’t really like bananas, but feels connected to “a part of it.” [Maurizio] Cattelan” when the piece finally left his body. God bless the contemporary art world.

https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2022/12/mischievous-art-basel-installation-turns-personal-wealth-into-video-game A mischievous installation at Art Basel turns personal wealth into a video game

Charles Jones

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