I dropped by Cheryl McGinnis Gallery (at West 38th and 8th Avenue) last week to see Susan Hamburger's show with the delicious title Moral Hazard. The Economist has a definition but the meaning in this sense is primarily that powerful individuals and institutions take more risks when they know their failures will be bailed out by another party -- often the taxpayers.
Detail of The Low Road with Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Vito Fosella, and John Ensign.
The exquisitely-crafted works, using acrylic on paper and collage, contain aspects of Roman wall painting but according to the artist's web site are inspired by self-made ancien régime wallpaper manufacturer Jean-Baptiste Réveillon.
Detail from The Con and The Nine with Charles Ponzi
Susan uses her beautiful technique to reflect on the financial and sexual rogues of our current era, ranging from GOP Senator John Ensign to Wall Street bankers.
Detail from The Nine with John Mack (Morgan Stanley), John Thain (Merrill Lynch) and Henry Paulson (Former Secretary of the Treasury)
The show is up through December 18. Highly recommended as a response to the beautiful objects vs. serious issues "dichotomy" in the art world. Susan gives us both.
[All images are courtesy of Cheryl McGinnis Gallery.]