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Matt Ross takes a look at the bound version of Hoard.  


An Inquiry into the Role of
Artistic Practice in the Creation of Value
In the form of an Annotated Bibliographic Accumulation of Books,
Articles, Images, Proposals, Projects, Songs, Movies, Jokes,
Web Links, Glossaries, and Field Trips etc.

Peter Walsh (USA)

     Hoard was originally prepared in conjunction with the Heart of Gold exhibition (2002) at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York, USA. Curator Larissa Harris.

     The second edition was prepared for the Global Priority exhibition (2003) at the Herter Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA. Curators Grady Gerbracht and Susan Jahoda.

     The third edition was prepared for Global Consulting Group: Art in the Office exhibition (2004) at the Global Consulting Group offices, Manhattan, USA. Curator Matt Keegan.

Goto Photo Gallery>>

     Hoard is an annotated bibliography - a perpetually expanding accumulation of cultural materials and an inquiry into the ways in which human society creates, manages, conserves and negotiates value. It was designed to be an easy-to-use map that would locate contemporary and historical items at the intersection of economics and aesthetics and note the ways in which those disciplines are caught up in producing what has become known as “value.”

     To simply “hoard” the information would be to “freeze” these intellectual assets as though they were a kind of treasure whose value was based on scarcity. In fact, the general usefulness of Hoard was based on expanding distribution rather than limiting it. And unlike food, the usefulness of knowledge and information isn’t destroyed through consumption. Therefore, this project was conceived as an “open” source book for whomever could or would make use of it. Needless to say, in our data-rich society, the project was fairly quickly overcome logistically by the onslaught of materials.

     Nevertheless, at the heart of this project was a desire to re-value art as objects, ideas and relationships which work within human society, and the role of artists - the producers of these objects, ideas and relationships - as fundamental members of society. This remains an important goal.

    The project was not comprehensive; rather, it was expansive. Hoard was designed to provide a series of guided entrance points into the vast accumulation of information created by human society.

"Matt Ross takes a look at the bound version of Hoard," Installation view at the Heart of Gold exhibtion, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, 2002.


Embossed copy of Hoard.
"As part of the investigation of how "value" is created, each bound copy (available for purchase), and each free "take-away" copy, was embossed and initialed by the artist - a standard method of indicating authenticity and scarcity. The "take-away" copies, however, were part of an unlimited run."

A Selection from the Introduction to Hoard

Submitting an entry to Hoard.  
III. The Bibliography/Hoard as a Literary/Artistic Form

gold glitinian grunde getenge,
wunder on wealle, ond paes wyrmes denn,

(.....a wonder to behold,
glittering gold spread across the ground,
the old dawn-scorching serpent’s den.....)

Beowulf, A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney, 2000, original Old English text - c.7th-10th Century C.E., pp. 186-187.

 “The heap glitters melodiously. It is clearly exotic, a landscape of desire. The fact that the material is with puritanical strictness, in demonic purity junk - in substance, shape and monetarily of absolutely no value - isolates this longing into its form of pure sentiment. But this is no dream world, it is not even the world of daydreams, tho’ that is closer: it is the world of art, a formally artificial arrangement.”

Stephen Brecht, “Jack Smith, 1961-71. The Sheer Beauty of Junk,” Queer Theatre, 1978.

    In their most basic and primeval form, hoards are accumulations of the energy necessary for the survival of life itself. An apple tree hoards the sun’s energy into a piece of fruit with the goal of reproducing life. A squirrel stores away nuts in a tree hollow with the intent of surviving winter.

    By going back to the very beginnings of language and mathematics in his book Fermat’s Last Theorem, Amir Aczel illuminates the earliest moments of written words and numbers, linking them directly to economic issues. General prosperity and survival are tied to the ability to list and account for resources.

    Still extant Babylonian cuneiform clay tablets, starting from the end of the fourth millennium B.C.E., indicate their use in cataloging possessions, land management and architectural problem solving. Wealth, however, is more than a listing of possessions; the very nature of production is caught up in the multiplication of the “linear” values contained in lists and transforming them into areas and volumes of value. In particular Aczel states, “A farmer’s prosperity is dependent on the amount of crops he is able to produce. These crops, in turn, depend on the area that is available to the farmer. The area is a product of the length and the width of the field, and this is where squares come in. A field that has length and width equal to a has area equal to a-squared. In this sense, therefore, wealth is a squared quantity.”

    Record-keeping of possessions and mathematics, combined with emerging legal systems that began to define notions of “” allowed for yields to be calculated, rents set, and different sized properties to be bought, sold, exchanged and taxed.

    The first bibliography may have been a cuneiform clay tablet that listed other clay tablets that recorded wealth (“linear” values such as simple possessions plus “areas” of value such as pieces of land) and/or techniques for managing that wealth (lists of Pythagorean triples that helped in measuring the value of one piece of land against another). In the “bibliography/catalogue/list” as a written form, we see glimpses of the ways in which human-created technologies have worked to produce our contemporary economy.

"Submitting an entry to Hoard," Heart of Gold exhibition, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, 2002.


Catalogue Cover, Heart of Gold exhibtion

Catalogue Cover, Heart of Gold exhibtion, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, 2002.

          Click here to purchase the catalogue>>

Hoard Photo Gallery
Go to Photo Gallery

Gallery of Images from Hoard


     Hoard is the tangible results of several bursts of intensive work – and twenty years worth of experience. My warmest regards go out to former PS1 curator Larissa Harris for spurring me to create the first version and trusting that something valuable would come of it, to Grady Gerbracht and Susan Jahoda, curators for the exhibition Global Priority, and to Matt Keegen, curator for Global Consulting Group: Art In the Office. A great many artists and individuals gave me intriguing tips to follow and, quite frequently, last minute access to their work. Among these are Shu Lea Cheang, Jonathan Harris, Christine Hill, Hope Ginsburg, Ben Goldman, Emily Jacir, Ben Kinmont, Peter Lasch, Pia Lindman, Anissa Mack, Joseph and Donna McElroy, John Menick, Tadej Pogačar, Bruce Paul Reik, Santiago Sierra, Nedko Solakov, Lynn Wishart, Olav Velthuis, Sislej Xhafa and Lydia Yee. Several diligent folks working at major institutions, including Linda Ricci, Dr. Elena Stolyarik and Nicole Wells, helped me negotiate the sometimes labyrinthine paths leading to the legitimate use of photographs for the project. Christopher Quirk has given me the gift of decades worth of conversations, critiques, brainstorms and support which leaves me gratefully in his debt.

      Most special thanks of course goes to Deidre Hoguet to whom I am deeply and persistently indebted and without whom this project could not have come into being. Crucial and final thanks go out to my daughter Emily Walsh for bringing meaning and understanding into my life.

All Content Peter Walsh 2006
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