Capitalism Works For Me! True/False

Information about presenting Steve Lambert’s piece, “Capitalism Works For Me! True/False” including:

About the project

A 20 foot by 9 foot illuminated sign reading “Capitalism Works For Me!” with a scoreboard. A podium allows viewers to vote whether “in my life” the statement is true or false. The votes are displayed on the scoreboard.


Originally created at a SPACES World Artist Residency in Cleveland, OH with the encouragement of the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA with the support of 434 Kickstarter backers.

Three Exhibition Copies

There are currently three versions of the sign.

  1. United States - the original, made of aluminum, based in the United States.
  2. Europe - steel, currently in the UK and administered by ArtsAdmin. For information on the European version, please contact the studio.
  3. Australia - Melbourne, scaffolding uses theater trusses. For information on the Australian version, please contact the studio.

“Starting a conversation about Capitalism is like walking up to a stranger and asking, ‘Can I talk to you about Jesus?’”

National Public Radio

Weekend Edition

Video made by Times Square Arts

An 8 minute presentation on the project

From the Creative Time Summit

Reactions from viewers


A series of YouTube Videos from the 2015 presentation in London.

Times Square

What do people say about capitalism in Times Square? (daily 3 of 5) from Steve Lambert on Vimeo.


Interviews with people interacting with the sign in various locations in Boston. The tour through Boston was part of the 2012 deCordova Biennial.

Other videos have been uploaded to a collection on Steve Lambert’s vimeo page


Note: the following information is about the US version of the sign. For details on European and Australian versions, please get in touch.


20ft long
9ft tall
~5ft deep

Plus a podium that has about a 1 ft square footprint and a 20x20 ft blue rug.

Note: The depth and height can be changed by building a temporary scaffolding to mount the sign. This was done at Charlie James Gallery, for an example, so the piece better fit in the space. A wood scaffolding made with 2x4s about 3ft deep was built and anchored to the wall. (see photos)

Installing with custom scaffolding.
Installing with custom scaffolding.
Custom scaffold installed - note shorter depth
Custom scaffold installed - note shorter depth


The sign is packed in 5 crates, dimensions below.

Crate Height Length Width Weight
#1 35 138 14 TBA
#2 42 133 16 TBA
#3 35 138 14 TBA
#4 42 133 16 TBA
#5 86 67 29 TBA
#6 22 40 40 TBA

Plus one carpet, rolled up and wrapped in plastic.

The crates are professionally built, but not built for abuse. Art handlers are preferred over standard freight. If you are considering using standard freight, please contact the studio to consult.

Shipping from Steve Lambert’s Studio



It takes at least 2, preferably 3 people to install, 2 ladders around six and ten feet are helpful. Set up takes up to a few hours depending on conditions.


The sign is built to withstand outdoor conditions and was installed outside the deCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts through the winter of 2011/2012. It was a rained on, snowed on, etc.

A mechanical engineer looked at the piece and determined it is safe in winds up to about 50mph. There are sandbags that can help weight it down so it won’t blow over in wind. However, in large storms this is a risk and the sign should be anchored and weighted to the ground. Rope/cable and stakes are not included in the installation kit.


No problem.

Electrical needs

It uses a standard 3 prong plug.

The sign runs mainly on LED technology and requires very little power.

It can run off a car battery for a short time (up to a few hours), depending on the battery.

Public Presentation

The piece can be places in public spaces in the surrounding area. A small crew and truck is needed to partially disassemble the piece to move it. Depending on how much the sign needs to be disassembled and how large the crew will affect assembly and tear down times.

For example: In Cleveland it was 15 minutes. In Boston it took about an hour.

Selected Press

Just a sample. This hasn’t been updated in a long time.


SPACES in Cleveland produced a small catalog for the piece. A screen-res PDF is available for download and for a printed copy, just ask.

The Discourses of Capitalism: Everyday Economists and the Production of Common Sense by Christian W. Chung (Routledge) “examines the discourses of capitalism taken up by people in their responses to a street art installation created by Steve Lambert, entitled Capitalism Works For Me! True/False.”

A book is planned with information on the piece, portraits and reactions from people who encountered the sign and explanations of their votes, and more.

Exhibition History

Words from past presenters

Christopher Lynn at SPACES, Cleveland OH

“Capitalism Works For Me! True/False” originated at SPACES when Steve was an artist-in-residence. We partnered with a local moving company who helped us transport the sign around town to various locations so we could visit different neighborhoods and have the project live outside the gallery. We targeted local festivals, concerts and markets to take the sign so we could maximize the number of people with whom we could interface. When the sign wasn’t out in the world, it resided in our gallery space for our visiting patrons to view and vote. Over the course of eight weeks, the project was able to directly interact with over 17,000 people*—a record for SPACES.

*These are people who voted and/or spoke to a SPACES representative about the project, not casual passers-by.

Will D. Wilkins at Real Art Ways, Hartford CT

“We loved having this… People had what was really a great contemporary art experience.”

Hear Will talk about the piece or read a full transcription here.

Dina Dietsch at the deCordova Museum

“Capitalism Works for Me! True/False was the highlight of our 2012 deCordova Biennial. Not only did it greet each visitor at the entrance of the museum – setting the tone for the show of what we like to call ”thoughtful and humorous politics“ – it was able to take the entire Biennial project with it on the road! For over a week, the sign traveled, with Steve, through various parts of town – from a big box grocery store parking lot to an art school entrance to the lobby of Massachusetts’s most expensive high school building to Davis Square. As you can see from the videos, each site had vastly different voting numbers and conversations, fleshing out the dimensions of the question – Does Capitalism indeed work for me? Who really knows…
  Ultimately – there is no answer. And that’s why we still miss that sign.”

More to come

Budget Items




Other Questions

Contact steve at or through the contact form on this page