The Aaron Burr Society, located in New York, was founded in 2008 in response to the financial crisis that nearly sank the American economy. The society draws on the beginnings of American history and the tradition of egalitarian libertarianism. The motto of the society is “1800: Wall Street is worse than the King,” which may sound surprising for a group that took an active part in Occupy Wall Street in 2010. Aaron Burr was a hero of the American Revolution and one of the first vice presidents of the United States; he was also a fierce opponent of financial oligarchy and the landed aristocracy. The society uses artistic competence to subvert the official understanding of American history. Humorous reconstructions of events like the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791 illuminate a United States that was shaped by constant battles between ordinary citizens and small elites over social wealth. Thus the society makes use of art that appropriates American history, compressing the contemporary with historical layers of conflicts. The exhibition includes a report from the Free Money Movement. Acting on a 1:1 scale, the society introduced bills stamped with slogans like “Slaves of Wall Street” and “Free Money” into circulation, building social awareness of the financial system’s role in perpetuating social inequalities.
MAKING USE. LIFE IN POSTARTISTIC TIMES IS AN EXHIBITION AND PUBLIC PROGRAM FEATURING MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED PARTICIPANTS