Money, that’s all I want

By Claire Cummings

For anyone who doesn’t have two pennies to rub together, as is the case of most students this September, the Nickle Art Gallery has just the solution. The gallery will be featuring Money, an exhibit exploring the history of money and people’s relationship to it.

"We’re interested in the psychological aspect of money," exhibition assistant Karen Aberle. "It’s about personal relationships as well as the objects themselves."

Viewers will be able to view dozens of forms of commerce throughout history: from elephant tails used in ancient Africa to the beaded wampum belts and copper plates of North American aboriginals.

"It’s interesting to see what some people have considered money, who would take these things like I would take a quarter," says Aberle.

Other sections of the exhibit will look at Canadians’ perceptions of money and the ways we win and lose money.

Aberle said that she was disappointed when she travelled in Greece because museums there did not provide background or context for objects.

"These cultures are dead, but museums just show walls and walls of pots without any explanation. It’s important to contextualize, to know why it was important to the society," says Aberle.

Both Aberle and Assistant Curator Christine Sowiak say this exhibit is one of the many examples of the Nickle’s connection with the university campus. Money involved collaborators and contributors from faculties across campus, including anthropology, management, economics and geology.

Sowiak said the Nickle’s approach makes exhibits attractive to students in every field, not just fine arts majors. She told of a photo exhibit last year, The Art of Healing, that attracted classes of nursing students.

"When the university 101 tours came through last month, we heard a management student say to others,’Just because you’re in management doesn’t mean [the Nickle] isn’t a resource for you. Your profs will be impressed if you step outside the bounds of your faculty.’ It was great to hear that," said Sowiak.

Along with Money, the Gallery will be featuring three new exhibitions starting Fri., Sept. 22. One exhibition, Odd Bodies, is a touring exhibition from the National Gallery of Canada and features artwork from the national collection. The work of German expressionist Otto Dix, set alongside the disturbingly surreal work of David Wojinarowicz and other Canadian and international artists, promises to provide a challenging, disconcerting look at body image and identity.

Also showing Sept. 22 is a collection of work by Calgary artist Mireille Perron. Her show Les Belles Ratoureuses is part of a series featuring the work of accomplished artists from the Calgary community. Perron’s multimedia exhibits in her own words, "offer ways of engaging female embodiment. Complex political, historical and personal shifts, all operating chaotically, enable women artists to repossess and reinvent bodies and their imagery."

Perron’s work and Odd Bodies, will be showing until Nov. 18. Money will show until Dec. 23.

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