“The Bank Show: Vive Le Capital”
              Ming Lin
              An exhibition title containing a phrase like “Vive Le Capital” suggests a degree of irony in its subject matter. With a roster of some 24 artists and ambitious claims of “exploring the omnipresent power of global finance,” one expects an assortment of vaguely related works—critiques, interventions, manifestos—all of which gravitate toward a subject that itself seems almost redundant, as art and capital have always, of course, been inherently intertwined. But “The Bank Show: Vive Le Capital” is appropriately situated and the selection of works judicious. The exhibition takes place at the former Bank Union building in Shanghai’s Bund district. Historically, the Bund sits as a remarkable surviving artifact of pre-communist internationalized China. The Bank Union, now home of the contemporary art space BANK, which also houses the offices of MABSOCIETY, a curatorial research platform and consultancy, was once a hub of global finance. Given this culturally rich and relevant site, MABSOCIETY, along with curators Wang Xin and Christoph Draeger, took a maximalist approach to exhibition-making, attempting to address the broad trajectory of contemporary art practices that have either directly challenged the system of global capitalism or else adopted its mechanisms in order to articulate art’s impotency in offering an alternative. Through …

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