Monopoly is a game in which anyone from a child to a grandma can become a ruthless property mogul. Sold in over 114 countries, the game was first commercially marketed as a success story of the American dream — a game invented, its packaging claimed, by an unemployed man for whom it made millions during the Great Depression. As a potent worldwide symbol for capitalism it has become so well recognized that during the Occupy London protest in 2011, an oversized Monopoly board sat outside St. Paul’s Cathedral, featuring a destitute Rich Uncle Pennybags and attributed by many to famous street artist Banksy. The message to everyone was clear.
The young woman who originally invented the game, however, had far different ideals. Elizabeth Magie was inspired by her passion for the anti-monopolist economic theories of politician Henry George, and her desire to teach them to others in a simple, compelling way led her to develop The Landlord’s Game. In the words of her 1903 patent application, the game was designed “not only to afford amusement to the players, but to illustrate to them how under the present or prevailing system of land tenure, the landlord has an advantage over other enterprises.”
Naomi Russo’s essay continues on playtime.pem.org; learn how Communist countries were quick to ban the game, Chance cards were written to chastise bad behavior, and how social psychologists believe Monopoly can reveal underlying moral codes and ethics while also transmitting new values.
On playtime.pem.org the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) explores “how is play changing our lives?” with leading writers, thinkers, game designers, poets, artists— and you. Discover new writing on games and society, hear artists talk about what play means to them and see our curators in action as we prepare to open, PlayTime, the first major thematic exhibition to explore the role of play in contemporary art and culture.
PlayTime opens at the Peabody Essex Museum (161 Essex Street, Salem, Massachusetts) on February 10, 2018.
The action could disrupt public access to the museum as workers campaign for higher wages and better labor conditions.
Over 500 scholars signed an open letter to reinstate the exhibition, which was postponed in consideration of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
This week, artist studios in the streets of Manhattan, a Texas high school, a Brooklyn apartment, and more.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very New York art events this month, including Ed Ruscha, Nina Katchadourian, Luis Camnitzer, Martha Edelheit, and more.
Join the New-York Historical Society on February 10 for a virtual conversation about our changing relationship to the natural world with Julie Decker, John Grade, and LaMont Hamilton.
Asawa’s life masks do not keep count of past or future losses.
At San Francisco’s Legion of Honor, Mobina Nouri took scissors to her own strands and invited others to do the same.
Amid a worsening inflation crisis, Sergio Guillermo Diaz’s banknote artworks are a poignant symbol of Argentinian resilience.
Theatres of Melancholy: The Neo-Romantics in Paris and Beyond highlights a group of artists who found acclaim and patronage only to fall back into obscurity.
Presented by Northwestern’s Block Museum and McCormick School of Engineering, this new exhibition seeks empathy at the boundaries of life. On view in Evanston, Illinois.
Jean Renoir’s newly restored 1939 classic proves that lawless wealth — then as now — makes a marvelous farce of us all.
Hamburg’s Antisemitism Commissioner disparaged photographer Adam Broomberg for his support of the BDS movement.