Editor’s Note: Issue 17

Money is nearly as taboo a subject as sex. Yet the exchange of it is one of the main transactions in our daily lives. What we think and feel about money determines how we engage with it, not only as currency but also as a determinant of dynamics within relationships, business, politics, and social interactions.

Money affects our self-esteem, from our credit score, to the salary we receive. The amount of money or debt we possess at any given time influences our relationship to freedom and choice and contributes greatly to our sense of well-being. Issue 17: The Currency of Money examines how currency works within our personal and professional lives, as well as in our relationships.

In her book Defining Your Relationship Currency, therapist and author Debra L. Kaplan explains, “Relational currency speaks to what we value, what we bring in the way of relational strengths, and the ways in which we communicate this to our loved one.”  

Tracing his own journey from spending client to earning psychotherapist, Chris Hancock elucidates the underlying physical and emotional challenges of an inevitable exchange: therapy for money.

“Since shame is an emotion of comparison that speaks of inferiority, of being less than,” notes Dr. Susan Beth Miller, “once we define the acquisition of money as the attainment of personal value, to be short on money or moneyless can be shameful.” Her deft investigation forces us to question the extent to which we view money through the lens of shame.

What happens to the wealthy in prison, when their financial lifelines are rendered meaningless? Contributing writer Steven P. Arthur gives us an insider’s view of the politics of currency exchange in the U.S. Justice System.

Issue 17: The Currency of Money invites you to spend valuable time exploring these and other fascinating connections between the currency we exchange and the psychological currents driving each decision.


– Stanley Siegel, Editor-in-Chief and Adam A. Neal, Associate Editor



A Note from Art Curator, Matthew Kyba

In the contemporary art market, high-end paintings and sculptures from A-list artists can fetch the same amount as a small nation’s GDP. The exorbitant currency that is traded for contemporary art seems unbelievable at times. But for every Koons or Hirst, there are many more artists who tend to act in resistance to or in critique of the unapologetic, economical structuring of the art world. These artists, even while being involved in the commercial art sphere, symbolize deficiencies and failings of the art marketplace, where the bottom line is buying and selling. All the artists selected for this issue in one way or another, confuse, pervert, undermine, or distrust the established economy that typically envelops the white cube institution.

The culture-jamming Yes Men actively showcase how farcical government and corporate consciousness can be by submitting absurd business proposals to eager industry professionals, only to have their fantastically bizarre presentations met with applause.

JD Banke creates humanistic and honest works that darkly satirize the reliance on commerce the art market operates within.

Mario Gallucci‘s imperfectly real (photographic) sculptures may resemble real world ordinary objects, but are just paper shells or their image; these “chameleon objects” oppose conceptual art objects that become highly valued when placed inside the gallery setting.

Illustrator and artist Dominic De Venuta discusses commissioning art and the struggle to keep the artistic voice within the client’s proposed plans.

Laura Kikauka‘s objects confuse the high/low art binary through their organization of what is historically deemed “kitsch” by focusing on the personal histories each work demonstrates. While capitalistic tendencies are as prevalent as ever within contemporary art, so are the skeptical eyes of many artists, keeping focused on revealing the invisible art-economy.

Jesse Sugarmann‘s work concerns how globalization has destroyed a local American symbol: the Pontiac automobile. Hollow and motionless cars reveal the sad truth of how the ever-expanding vision to condense and simplify forms results in a narrowing of unique and interesting design.


Financial Diagnosis: The Effect of The Credit Rating System on How We Feel About Ourselves

JD Banke, "Mr. Coray"

With almost every meaningful institution now committed to free market self-interest, Americans inhabit a culture of competition, inadequacy, anxiety, and low self-esteem. A person’s value in this culture solely derives from the ability to make profits. This is not a recipe for happiness; rather, it is a recipe for anguish...Read More »

Mute About Money

Mario Gallucci, "American Flag"

Money competes quite well with sex for the position of the number one no-talk topic in our society. Friends, relatives and significant others typically do not speak openly about money. We can begin to understand the taboo attributed to money-talk by asking several relevant questions. What is money? What emotions...Read More »

Peasant Dreams A Conversation with JD Banke

JD Banke 3

When you walk into JD Banke’s most recent exhibit at Glass Box Gallery, entitled Peasant Dreams, bass-heavy hip hop emanating from overhead speakers and large spray painted text lackadaisically positioned between two white gallery walls greets you. A large man assumes the “Atlas” pose, hoisting up an American...Read More »

Art as a Revolt Against Fate

Yes Men 3

Who are the Yes Men? Andy Bichlbaum (Jacques Servin) and Mike Bonanno (Igor Vamos) have been performing anti-consumerist and anti-corporate activist interventions since before their first film The Yes Men premiered back in 2003. From impersonating corporate spokespeople with absurd proposals to producing and giving out 80, 000 fake...Read More »

Sex and Money: Employing Symbols to Better Approach the Source

c Adam J. Martin

I recently relocated to New York after years as a gadabout abroad. While somewhere specific globally, I would find myself in some elusive elsewhere experientially, as my world became one photo op after another by some famed monument, supported by a hoard of whoring.

Somehow, in the wake of prescribed want...Read More »

Defining Your Relational Currency

Excerpt from “For Love and Money: Exploring Sexual & Financial Betrayal in Relationships

Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex: You thought of nothing else if you didn’t have it and thought of other things if you did.  ̶ James A. Baldwin

When two people come together under an...Read More »

Counterfeit Objects A Conversation With Mario Gallucci

Mario Gallucci, "Columbia River Stone" (2014)

Mario Gallucci’s photographic sculptures are tricky, often prompting viewers to be deceived that the subjects are “real.” They may be dismissed as too conceptual or readymade-like because they appear so close to their actual objects, and may appear to function as such within a gallery. But when one lingers for...Read More »

Desert Test Sites A Conversation With Jesse Sugarmann

Jesse Sugarmann, "We Build Excitement"


The demise of an American hallmark automobile, the Pontiac, carries with it the loss of an American symbol. Jesse Sugarmann’s practice involves this loss, framing it as a product of the increasingly globalized auto-manufacturing production. He comments on how the manufacturing model is adopting the “less is more” mantra in...Read More »

A Case for Treating the Worried Well

Mario Gallucci, "Paint Roller"

As a clinical social worker providing psychotherapy to the wealthy “daughters of the 1%,” as I’m prone to quip at dinner parties, I have learned to adopt humor and self-negation as armor against career-shaming.

Formal education for social workers is steeped in the historical narrative of our profession: attending to injustices...Read More »

The Art of Commission

Dominic De Venuta 3

Artistic commission is a tricky business. Keeping in mind the client’s wants while balancing an artistic voice is a difficult road to navigate. Dominic De Venuta, fresh from providing the cover image (among others) for the Portland’s newspaper Willamette Week’s recent issue, discusses the art of the commission, from how...Read More »

Psychotherapy Relationship and Money: Strange Bedfellows?

The Yeast Has Awoken, mixed media, 2014

“Most things of exchange require money. The most worthy of exchange require the mind, heart, and time.” -Bobby Compton

When you pay for therapy, what are you paying for?

There are some themes that don’t always get the air time they need in therapy. At the top of the list is the...Read More »

In Support of Dr. Oz: The Commerce of Medical Ethics

Dominic De Venuta 4

Recently, a group of ten “distinguished” physicians demanded the firing of Dr. Mehmet Oz as vice chairman of the Department of Surgery for Columbia University in a letter that savaged him for “his lack of integrity by promoting quack treatment and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.”

On his...Read More »



MD feeds her words into the machinery. She presses her self into the text: sweat, blood, excrement.

It is a vile exercise. It is exquisite, this mysteriousness, this act of brute survival.

One thinks of feeding; of pressing oil-soaked bread into the open mouth of a hungry child.

It is...Read More »

Between High and Low

Laura Kikauka What Box ? exhibition view, 2014

Laura Kikauka’s work acts against the coldly conceptual aesthetic that has reigned over modern and contemporary art since the late 1960’s. It is a return to sentimental forms, nostalgic feelings, and objects imbued with personality. Kikauka provides context and thoughts about her recent show at MKG127 and discusses the inherent...Read More »

Shame Over Money Lost and Found

Jesse Sugarmann, Production still, "We Build Excitement"

I have defined shame in the past as a word that “designate(s) a family of related emotions. Each member of the family is characterized by an experience of the self as inadequate, or at least in disarray, thus not comfortably exposable to others; also present is the urge to hide,...Read More »

Prison Currency's Glass Ceiling

JD Banke, "Pray for Rain"

Money and sex seem to be the most prevalent themes within entertainment, reflecting the focus of our society. Money allows the owner of that currency a wide range of freedom and choice in all arenas of life. But, what happens to the value and power of money for that currency...Read More »