Michael Mandiberg: FDIC Insured
You’ve seen it: the bright bank logo on a storefront you pass every day that one morning has morphed into a different bank’s emblem. Like an ocean’s surface, American capitalism spreads as far as the eye can see, but mysterious and treacherous currents roil its depths. Since 2008, when the financial industry most recently reaped the whirlwind, artist Michael Mandiberg has been collecting the logos of failed banks for his “FDIC Insured” project — 527 at this point — and laser-cutting them onto the covers of discarded financial tomes. Here is Nothing Down: How to Buy Real Estate With Little or No Money Down, with the trademark of the Corn Belt Bank and Trust Co. — “Your Money, Your Bank” — branded into the yellow binding. Merrill Lynch’s belligerent bull is burned into the cover of The Total Money Makeover and the First Georgia Community Bank (which went belly-up in December of 2008) graces The Holy Use of Money. Although the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has your back if your bank tanks (up to $250K per depositor), Mandiberg’s library makes visible a multibillion dollar shell game of bad assets. That the show takes place in an abandoned Financial District office (check the limited hours and bring photo ID) adds to the eerie ambience of bankruptcy — financial and moral.