It’s eye-opening to Google “women and greed” and “men and greed”. In the former, you find videos and articles equating a woman’s greed with the search for a wealthy provider. In the latter, the stories are all about men with an insatiable need to accumulate wealth.
To illustrate the difference, compare the way the bankers implicated in the financial disaster are treated in the press with the tone employed covering Wendi Murdoch’s decision to hire a new divorce lawyer in her battle with soon-to-be-ex, Rupert Murdoch.
Our interest in this topic was sparked by our visit to the Russian Pavilion at La Biennale de Venezia 2013 to see Vadim Zakharov’s contemporary and interactive interpretation of the Greek myth, Danae.
As a refresher for those of you whose Greek mythology is a little rusty, Danae was the daughter of King Acrisios of Argos. He locked her up in a cave to ensure she never procreated because of a prophecy that he would be killed by her son. Zeus, never one to let any kind of barrier stand between him and a comely maiden, entered the cave as a golden shower and impregnated Danae. She gave birth to Perseus who did grow up to kill his granddad.
Zakharov’s vision features showers of golden coins that rain down on the lowest floor of the Russian Pavilion, where only women are allowed. Each woman is provided with a clear umbrella to protect her from being injured by the coins.
According to curator, Udo Kittelmann, “a falling shower of gold makes reference to the seduction of Danae as an allegory for human desire and greed…”
Not for nothing, but we can’t help thinking it wasn’t human desire that was responsible for that mythic golden shower.
But when it comes to human desires, we believe greed is gender-neutral. Although we are tempted to agree with artist Zakharov’s assessment in his interview with Suzy: “Men have ruined the world with greed. It’s up to women to fix it.”