Saturdays August 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th, 2023
8:00am – 2:00pm
and by appointment
OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday August 5th, 8–10:00am
520 West 143rd Street
1/A/B/C/D trains to 145th Street
The BSA is located on the parlor floor of a Harlem brownstone and is only accessible via stairs. If you have an access request, please contact us via email or call +1 718 916 7938 to make arrangements.
The Broodthaers Society of America presents BANKRUPTCY, a summer group show of 100+ objects produced by multinational corporations, nonprofits, artist collectives, and individuals.
In toto, the objects will overwhelm the Society’s 300-square-foot exhibition space to create an object lesson in aesthetics, class identity, value, and intent. Imagine a flea market, your favorite consignment store, the Strand Rare Book Room, and Sotheby’s all operating in the same space at the same time. In addition to being for sale, this panoply of contradictions is intended, however obliquely, to relate to current bankruptcy law in the United States: in particular whom it does and does not protect and what happens when objects representative of disparate economic classes are treated fairly and afforded equal access.
The show is a response to the Supreme Court overturning the Biden administration’s attempt to forgive $430 billion dollars in outstanding federal student loans. Not only will the pandemic-era suspension of loan payments expire on September 1st, but student loan debtors also remain forbidden from filing for bankruptcy under current law. Over the past three decades, Congress has made student loans ever more accessible and numerous with one hand while systematically restricting bankruptcy access with the other.
President Biden’s efforts notwithstanding, it’s worth mentioning that, in 2005, then Senator Biden was instrumental in passing The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which made the purported moral hazard of credit card bankruptcy much more difficult for individuals to access, while leaving credit card solicitation and predatory lending unchecked.
Meanwhile, corporations like Purdue Pharma and nonprofits like the Catholic Church are able to use bankruptcy law to protect the families and individuals responsible for their respective carnage. In Purdue Pharma’s case, an unprecedented ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Sackler Family’s use of bankruptcy court to shield itself from future OxyContin-related lawsuits. In the Catholic Church’s case, the Archdiocese of Albany is only the latest to file for bankruptcy as a way of skirting future sexual abuse lawsuits.
As always, this show is inspired by an idea found in the work of Marcel Broodthaers. In 1971, Broodthaers’ Musée D’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles (1968–1972) declared bankruptcy as a special project for the Cologne Art Fair. Ever the wonderer, Broodthaers skipped the German equivalents of Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 and went straight to Chapter 7: Liquidation. Having designed an announcement in the form of a dust jacket stating Museum of Modern Art for Sale: Bankruptcy, Broodthaers proceeded to wrap nineteen copies of the art fair catalogue in the jacket, mark up the value accordingly, and sell them as a limited edition out of Galerie Michael Werner’s booth.