Richard Shaw: On the Money
I read a short article in the L.A. Times about the total cost of the bailout, so far. The figure pledged to date was pegged at $8.5 trillion. The Times author, Mark Milian, reported that the U. S. bailout costs more than the combined, inflation-adjusted costs for nine big expenditures in history:
“With figures adjusted for inflation, the Marshall Plan cost 115.3 billion; the Louisiana Purchase, $217 billion; the race to the moon, $237 billion; the Savings & Loan crisis, $256 billion; the Korean War, $454 billion; the New Deal, about $500 billion; the invasion of Iraq, $597 billion; the Vietnam War, $698 billion; NASA’s lifetime budget $851 billion. Total $3.92 trillion.”
I thought about those huge numbers when I saw this image of a Richard Shaw piece that will be in our next show. Shaw’s sinking ship is a timely commentary on the global financial crisis. The origami ship is fashioned, seemingly, from U.S. dollar bills. It is sinking into the top of a stack of books, though it seems like it was headed west, toward China. For over 25 years, Richard has used clay to recreate the mundane objects of everyday life, gathering them together into ceramic sculpture that has the power to both amuse and amaze. He’s an artist with a powerful sense of humor.