Art after Money, Money after Art

Art after Money, Money after Art

Creative Strategies against Financialization

By Max Haiven



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We imagine that art and money are old enemies, but this myth actually reproduces a violent system of global capitalism and prevents us from imagining and building alternatives.

From the chaos unleashed by the ‘imaginary’ money in financial markets to the new forms of exploitation enabled by the ‘creative economy’ to the way art has become the plaything of the world’s plutocrats, our era of financialization demands that we question our romantic assumptions about art and money. By exploring the way contemporary artists engage with cash, debt, and credit, Haiven identifies and assesses a range of creative strategies for mocking, sabotaging, exiting, decrypting, and hacking capitalism today.

Written for artists, activists, and scholars, this book makes an urgent call to unleash the power of the radical imagination by any media necessary.


Perhaps the most theoretically creative radical thinker of the moment.

– David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5000 Years

Daring, brilliant, provocative. At last a radical critique of the crypto-approach and an abolitionist approach to the problem of money and art.

– Franco Berardi, philosopher, author of Futurability: The Age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility


Financialization and the imagination
The best of enemies, the worst of friends
Why bother? Activist questions
Caveats toward abolition
Part 1 Artistic strategies to envision money’s mediation
Crises of representation
Money, abstraction and transformation
The art of money, the financialization of art, and half-strategy
Strategy 1: Revelation
Strategy 2: Reflexivity
On mediation
Strategy 3: Rendering labor visible
Part 2 Artists x 2 crises x 3 orders of reproduction
Three theories of reproduction
Three artists, c.1973
Dawning financialization
Three artists after financialization
Part 3 Participation: Benign pessimism, tactical parasitics and the encrypted common
You can’t give it away like you used to
Social practices
Cruel optimism
Benign pessimism
Tactical parasitics
The encrypted common
Part 4 Encryption: Art’s crypt, securitization in numbers, derivative socialities
The cryptic market
A financialized society of control
Freeport empire
Palaces of encrypted culture
A crypt within a crypt
Popular Unrest
Derivative sociality
Epilogue: Beyond crypto
Conclusion Toward abolitionist horizons
An abolitionist approach
Another reproduction
Beyond fascism
Art after money, money after art