2014년 8월 27일 수요일

[발췌] J.S.G. Boggs' Counterfeit Money Is Worth More Than The Real Thing...



※ 발췌 (excerpts): 

When the Bank of England learned that the artist J.S.G. Boggs was making money, the authorities were not pleased. On October 31, 1986, three inspectors from Scotland Yard raided an exhibition of his currency at the Young Unknowns Gallery in London, and place him under arrest. Though his banknotes were drawn by hand, bearing his own signature as chief cashier, the British government pressed charges under Section 18 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act, threatening to end his career with forty-year prison sentence.

Eventually Boggs was acquitted. His lawyers persuaded the jury that even "a moron in a hurry" would never mistake his drawings for pounds sterling. In truth, the threat posed by his art had nothing to do with counterfeiting. If the Bank of England had reason to be anxious, it was becasue people ^knowingly^ accept Boggs bills in lieu of banknotes.

Boggs' project began with a simple exchange. At a Chicago diner one day, he ordered a doughnut and coffee. On his napkin he distractedly wrote the number one, gradually embellishing it until he found himself looking at an abstract $1 bill. The waitress noticed too, and liked it so much she wanted to buy it. Instead of selling, he offered it in exchange for his ninety cent snack. She accepted, and as he got up to leave, she gave him a dime in change.

That became the model for every transaction that followed. Wherever Boggs was, he drew the local currency by hand, and whenever he wanted to buy something, he offered his drawing at face value. In this way, he paid for food and clothing and transportation. However he would not retail drawings to collectors. If collectors wanted to buy he'd sell them the change and the receipt from a transaction, leaving them to locate his drawing and negotiate with the merchant who'd accepted it instead of cash. In that way, he created an alternate economy based on an equivalence between money and art: the inherent uselessness of both that make the value of each arbitrary.

This correspondence could easily have been tendered as a critique of the art market, and it had been in the past. For instance, in the early 1970s, the conceptual artist Ed Kienholz stenciled ever-increasing sums of money on sheets of paper, each of which he sold successively for the indicated amount, starting at $1 and eventually reaching $10,000. What makes Boggs so compelling is that he reversed the equation. He doesn't tell us that art is absurd, but breaks out of the museum-gallery complex, leveraging the absurdity of art to question the sanity of finance.

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