People from Småland are stingy

Art has got nothing to do with money, or the value of money. From the noble state of art we are supposed to become more reflective, more sensitive, learn more and become more active, we’re not supposed to make money out of art. The social idea of art is a consideration for the citizen. Nomatter howmuch artists and art institutions in Sweden have been complaining on shortage of money, to make art available and interesting to the citizens has been the goalduring years of social democratic governing. How much this has been the case we might not have noticed until now, when another type of government talks about individual enterprise and lower taxes for everyone. Art mustn’t cost anything asvery few of the taxpayers take any interest in it. Those who are interested must now learn to pay for their interest. Maybe it´s a good idea to make art-lovers pay as they probably can afford it. On the other hand, rich people are often stingy. Or else, they might not have become rich. People of Småland are stingy. That is why they run more than half of all Swedish low-price stores. Which, on the other hand, might be the reason for their wealth. Or, might be the reason for why other people think they really are stingy,a circumstances thatin itself has become a brilliant and selling concept. People of Småland are stingy gets 1420 hits on Google. Åsa-Nisse used to be a thrifty recycler, Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, is a total success and the spirit of Gnosjödoes not want to hear of any excesses! Poor, rich or somewhere in between, homo economicus is a figure well suited for our time. However meagre he might appear in his one-eyed existence, he’s the one to be considered smart. You can always point at a cheaper price tag and prove to be right. If you have paid too much, think no more of maintaining your position: you will stay nitwit. Save some money on the cheaper buy, you can always use them onsomething more fun. But when does it happen? When does all the fun begin? Cheap, cheaper, cheapest is a lesson we hear all day long by all kinds of offers and reductions. Our wallets get thicker with plastic cards making things a little cheaper. At the same time something else is vanishing. We would like to take this consciousness of economy to its absolute extreme in the Art Gallery in Växjö. All art galleries want visitors to prove they are worth their public funds. The Art Gallery in Växjö will be the first to attract visitors by giving money away – as art. This year, 2007, it is 300 years since the scientist Carl von Linné was born and we make a point of it by distributing 100 crowns to each visitor, with our signature placed upon the smiling face of Linné printed on the bill. A Swedish scientist, internationally wellknown, from the beginning very poor, but getting richer thanks to his professorial work in Uppsala. In his late years, he gave his family advice on what to do with his propertiest –sell them to England. A true man from Småland! We’re planning the shape of the exhibition in a simple way. It consists of us giving every visitor a signed 100-crown bill! Through the big windows you will see only a painted wallwith the text ”People from Småland are stingy” in big letters. In front of the wall there is a counter, chairs and an arrangement of bands, making the public queue up if there´s a crowd.The idea is that each visitor should get one 100 Swedish crown bill and therefore we´reobligedto ask the visitors for their ID:s as well as letting the cashier enter their names in a register. Then comes the exciting aftermath. What will the visitors do with their signed bills, what will happen in media, in art and in the visitor’s own interests and inclinations? Art happen if the visitor keeps his bill, puts it in a frame or in any other way detaches it from the consuming everyday.An economic alternative is to frame it and save it for future art auctions. The rise in value can be substantial. This increase ofcourse depends on how much media finds the exhibition to be worth. And this, in its turn, affects the number of people wanting to see the exhibition, more bills will disappear, splendid attendance rates or just a bad bargain? Where does the responsibility of the artists end, and where does the responsibility of the audience/collectors start? Everybody wants to have the bill, but what happens then? Is that art too? In order to make the exhibition more solid we’d like to suggest a series of lecturers and an active discussion with the audience.