United States Capitol
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THERE IS NO CAUSE FOR ALARM
Mark Wagner, 2016
Currency Collage (Detail)
Mark Wagner's collages tackle some big subjects - American history and identity, social and environmental issues - using one ubiquitous object as his sole medium: the US dollar bill. Wielding a sharp blade, Wagner cuts out every element from the bill. Then, he constructs detailed collages, carefully positioning each precious scrap to create an astonishing array of images, textures, and effects. The dollar carries a great deal of weight and meaning; thus, viewers may be shocked to recognize it's treatment here, and wonder if such a treatment of money is somehow scandalous, until they remember that the dollar is not actually sacred.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THERE IS NO CAUSE FOR ALARM shows a monstrous bear breaking free from it's chains. The meaning is open to interpretation. It may remind some viewers of King Kong. Others may see the gigantic figure as a reference to Wall Street - perhaps as a portent of less restrictive economic policies leading to rampant speculation and abuse. Because this work was made during the 2016 presidential campaign, it could also be read as a commentary on the rise of divisive forces in politics.