NY Stock Exchange 1969

It was the first time in history that financial news became art when Bernar Venet appropriated Clem Morgello’s prominent Newsweek business section as an artwork in 1969. Venet’s blow-up prints were part of a larger body of work that engaged artistically with the representation and performance of value. At that time, the French artist had also organized performances on the NY stock exchange; Venet recalled the iconic venue with hundreds of busy traders and phones ringing in cacophony, screens flashing fluxing numbers. Venet had sent out a performance invitation and let the brokers perform as usual the installation without further notice. His reasoning remains unclear, but such a commercial broadcast might have been disturbing or considered inappropriate in an exhibition context.

© Courtesy Bernar Venet Studio

»Back in those days, this piece was far from being understood and accepted as an art proposition. What was the stock market doing in a noble institution like the MoMA? Let’s say that fifty years later, it’s easier to comprehend,« comments the artist.

Bernar Venet is best known for his minimalist large-scale steel sculptures. However, his early conceptual work only recently found a receptive audience among a new generation of digital artists investigating the information economy and the recent relations it produces. As such, Venet’s “Stock Market” works are recognized as early explorations of the transformation of value in society.