Making Money the Harder Way is a performance with several components. We designed a 77 cent dollar bill to honor Lilly Ledbetter’s contribution to the fight for income equality. The money is printed using an antique tabletop letterpress from our employer, Zygote Press, an artist-run Fine Art Printshop in Cleveland, OH. Our workstation, a customized cart, is surrounded by stacks of gold tires topped with green molded gelatin. We are dressed in money green crinoline dresses that we made using an antique 1950’s pattern and when “on duty” we don Gold Lame aprons.
This nod to the 1950’s in hair and dress, as well as the gelatin, harkens back to a woman’s traditional role working exclusively in the home, supported by a man. If women worked, it was more rare and was often to bring in a secondary income, which may have been why the wage gap was accepted initially.
This performance is not about whether women should or should not work in or out of the home. It is not about whether the kind of work that women do is good or bad for the country, families or any such judgement. This performance is about working and making less for the same amount of work as some else due to one’s gender. There are nuanced reasons why this gap is higher in some professions than others, but that is also not what this performance is about. It is about making, doing and symbolically representing the current gender wage disparity in the United States.
The performance components have been made or found very cheaply because we are not wealthy artists and are aware of the money spent to do this performance. 24 tires were gathered from a local mechanic (all are retired from the road) and painted with several coats of Martha Stewart Gold Precious Metals paint. The tires act as pedestals for the green gelatin arrangements and reminders of Lilly Ledbetter’s position with Goodyear Tire Company.
On June 21, 2013, beginning at The Sculpture Center (10am) moving up Euclid Avenue to Cleveland’s Uptown until 5pm, we explore wage disparity between men and women through Making Money the Harder Way, an incorporation of performance, installation and printmaking with generous support from The Sculpture Center and Zygote Press.
This hard work will be followed by a Quittin’ Time/Happy Hour at The Sculpture Center from 5pm-6:30pm.
Making Money the Harder Way premiered at IngenuityFest2012.