Janet Yellen plays patient in shocking 'Operation' parody art exhibition
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s image is featured prominently in a new and provocative art exhibit debuting at the Georges Berges Gallery in New York’s SoHo neighborhood.
CorpCru, a collective of about 10 craftspeople and fine artists, will unveil 50 mixed-media original works in a series entitled “Corporation.”
The centerpiece of the exhibit features a scantily-clad Yellen in an immersive parody of the board game Operation, which the collective changed to “Corporation.”
The larger-than-life image, dressed in a “Target: Inflation” crop-top, stands at 7-feet tall from her head to her stiletto heels. For the game, players draw “debit” and “credit” cards and try to remove aluminum sculptures from inside her.
Instead of a setting off a buzzer as in the classic game, when the tweezers make contact with the board, an audio mashup of music and speeches blast on a speaker. The words touch on newsy, hot-button socioeconomic and political issues. Yellen’s top also lights up.
The project is the brainchild of former investment banker Jason Meyers and his long-time friend Jason Rodriguez, a silkscreen artist and printer.
In February, Meyers called Rodriguez about creating a parody of Yellen, “not as the person but as the central figure to the monetary system.” Within hours, Rodriguez called back and suggested creating a parody of the board game “Operation.”
“Lightning struck when I brought in the ingredient of a parody of this central figure to the monetary system. As soon as the word ‘corporation’ rolled out of his mouth — ‘Operation,'” he said.
“We want them to laugh at a system that is mediocre at best,” Meyers said.
“There’s a lot of messages in this. I mean, it goes very very deep. One, we want you to laugh. Two, we want you to think. And three, you’ll probably arrive at the conclusion that all of this might actually be true.”
He added that most people don’t understand what the Federal Reserve does or what Yellen’s job really entails.
“She actually has the toughest job in the world, not the president of the United States,” Meyers said. “We’re not deifying her or vilifying her. She’s actually a neutral appointed figure. She has power, she has money, and we’ve given her something that she doesn’t really have.”
Meyers said that he hopes Yellen would laugh if she were to see the exhibit.
CorpCru is a collaboration of a number of different artists, including well-known urban artists J “Sen 2” Figueroa and James “Sexer” Rodriguez.
“We’ve known each other forever and have always said we’d do a collaboration,” Rodriquez said.
“We’re very picky about who we paint with,” he continued. “We fell in love with the concept and collaborated for the first time ever on this piece.”
The exhibit opens at George Berges Gallery on West Broadway on Thursday at 6 p.m. EST.