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The market will save us


The work was presented for the first time on the façade of the Royal College of Art's historical headquarters, in South Kensington of London, shortly after the 175th anniversary from the college's establishment (1837-2012). The banner's aim was not merely to disrupt the façade of a prominent public building by covering part of it; rather, it aimed at disrupting the very idea of what it means to be an artist working under the current socioeconomic conditions, and a student at large. The arts and education were harshly affected by the global financial crisis of 2008, which led to an unprecedented wave of austerity. Notably, this trend continues in many cases: art organizations implement severe cuts, numerous of them close down, and artists – particularly the young – face great difficulty in their efforts to fund the production of new work and exhibit. At the same time, artists are called to perform their social role, whilst working within and against society's puzzlement when faced with the problem of demystifying the nature of our current economic systems and structures. The banner's (ironic) phrase "The market will save us" constitutes an oblique contribution to this process of demystification. Notably, the phrase is written with the same font used in the document with which Queen Elizabeth II granted the college with a Royal Charter in 1967 (i.e. the right to award university-level degrees). By alluding to the contradictions through which the art world operates today, the work highlights the catastrophic economic determinism that dominated the period preceding the global financial crisis of 2008. Following this turbulent period, and as arts education increasingly becomes a privilege, the role of the art market has grown more and more influential. And the question is: who is going to benefit more from this new relationship: the arts, the market, or, perhaps, neither in the long-term?


Three years later, on 30 September 2016, the banner was paraded around the centre of Boston in the context of Boston Art Week. The event was organised by Boston University, with the participation of students from Metropolitan College. The aim of the parade was to function as a reminder of the neoliberal views that were rapidly gaining ground in the build-up to the U.S. Presidential Elections, which took place just five weeks after the event.

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