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The crane-sized bar graph in the Critical Art Ensemble’s “A Public Misery Message: A Temporary Monument to Global Economic Inequality” at Documenta 13
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Documenta 13

HELICOPTER RIDES COURTESY CRITICAL ART ENSEMBLE
by Rachel Corbett

Since the Reagan years, the Critical Art Ensemble, a collective of five artist-activists scattered around the U.S., had been trying, unsuccessfully, to enact their idea for a performance called “A Public Misery Message: A Temporary Monument to Global Economic Inequality.” The problem was money: The plan involved erecting a crane-sized bar graph depicting wealth disparity in America, with every 1cm representing $100 and, when it got too tall, using a helicopter to soar 225 meters up in the sky to represent, hyperbolically, the top 1%.

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