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The Fitzwilliam Museum - Defaced! Money, Conflict, Protest
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Defaced! Money, Conflict, Protest

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11 October – 8 Jan 23


"If you're fed up and throwing rocks isn't your thing, take it out on money" – Mark Wagner, artist (b.1976)

Punched, scratched, engraved, over-printed or digitally manipulated, there are many reasons people decide to 'take it out on money'.

'Defaced!' is the first major exhibition to explore a 250-year history of protest, using currency as a canvas and a vehicle for rebellion. Passed through many hands, cash is the ideal way to circulate a message while having a go or poking fun at those in power.

The exhibition seeks out the stories behind the damage, which reveal some of the personal and hidden struggles experienced during major world events – from the French and American Revolutions to the First World War and the Nazi concentration camp system to the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Objects of rebellion made by the radicals of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, like Thomas Spence and the Suffragettes are shown alongside works by contemporary artists and activists including Banksy, Aida Wilde, Hilary Powell, kennardphillips, J.S.G Boggs and more.

In today's world where the use of coins and notes are increasingly being replaced by digital payments, and against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis and current debates about personal freedoms, this exbitition is urgently relevant.

At the centre of this show is a new collection built thanks to an Art Fund New Collecting Award.

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