For nine days this month, artist Sarah Meyohas will sit in an office chair at a glass desk in the middle of the spartan cube that is Chelsea’s 303 Gallery and trade stocks. Through her transactions, she will intentionally push prices up and down and record the ensuing vicissitudes of these stocks in oil stick on large white canvasses that line the gallery walls. At first glance, this is spectacle, complete with limited-edition, gold-nanoparticle-painted artist books produced alongside the performance. As my favorite art historian (the Wendy’s fast food company), might ask: Where’s the beef?
My question walking into the opening Friday was not only that but also, what is the message? Meyohas has engaged with finance before, studying it at the University of Pennsylvania (where, in full disclosure, I knew her) and creating her own cryptocurrency “Bitchcoin,” which explored the notion of the artist as someone who could be physically invested in. And now, in this latest outing at 303, she is making the complex, obscure, even seemingly arbitrary machinations of the stock market visible. But is this a celebration of those machinations or a critique of them?