Creative destruction refers to capitalism’s inherent tendency to create new wealth by destroying the previous economic order. Initially described by Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto, this concept was popularized in the United States after World War II when economist Joseph Schumpeter adapted it as a model of economic innovation but still warned of its self-destructive nature. Now absorbed into mainstream discussions of the economy, creative destruction is evoked to legitimate the profits produced by such practices as financial speculation, downsizing, restructuring, and the intentional eroding of labor conditions, both in the United States and abroad.
This exhibition reclaims the phrase “creative destruction” in order to emphasize how preexisting systems of representation can be reconfigured for different political purposes. The artists illuminate the way in which certain ideological structures perpetuate a constructed yet naturalized state of inequality. Like many recent global protest movements, they collectively engage in a critical analysis of the existing socioeconomic order.
The exhibition features works by Melanie Gilligan, Hans Haacke, Alfredo Jaar, Liz Magic Laser, Raqs Media Collective, Kerri Reid, SUPERFLEX, and Fred Wilson.
Curated by denisse andrade
, Liz Park, Tim Saltarelli, and Kristina Scepanski, Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellows of the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, 2011–2012.