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Creative Destruction In Action
Altered original text by Joseph Schumpeter, in German and English
Arrangement variable
Inv. Nr. 69

Born in 1961 in Stoutsville, Ohio, USA
Lives and works in New York City, New York, USA

Joe Scanlan’s works, which emerged in the mid-eighties, mainly consist of simple, everyday materials. Their production is defined by elementary, mechanical or small-scale industrial methods. The do-it-yourself philosophy remains a vibrant concept for Scanlan. A second important guideline for the artist’s work is the strategic acceptance and use of market economy as a social form of communication. As an enhancement of his artistic work, he has written numerous essays on art and on general cultural phenomena.

In Creative Destruction In Action, parts of the famous book written by the Austrian born economist J. A. Schumpeter (1883–1950) Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, first published in 1942, are displayed as a space-filling wall piece. Schumpeter’s most widely known idea is “Creative Destruction”: it addresses how, in economic life, old ways of doing business are destroyed in the process of new methods coming to life. Scanlan applies this theory of the essence of capitalism to art by changing, rewriting and rearranging Schumpeter’s text and by inserting words and sentences. Through Scanlan’s revisions – recognizable thanks to the artist’s use of different shades of blue – Schumpeter’s text itself becomes the subject of a creative destruction process. Scanlan keeps the dynamics of creative destruction alive by incessantly discovering new production, display, and distribution-niches for his art.