Sunday, 27 October 2013

On the Treachery of Images

J.S.G. Boggs is a contemporary artist who has carved out an interesting niche for himself. He specializes in making drawings that look (very much) like real money, and exchanging them at face value in commercial transactions. For example, he has used a drawing of a US$1000 bill to buy a three dollar hamburger, receiving US$997 in real money (insofar as American money still is real, in these days of imminent US bankruptcy) as change. The extra-interesting twist is that Boggs' work is usually worth far more to his collectors than the face-value of its denomination. A Boggs bill with a $10 'face value' might sell for more than a thousand ('real') dollars on the open market. Although he has had a little trouble with counterfeiting charges, he has generally avoided them since he never pretends that his drawings are real money, only draws one side, and usually includes obvious changes from the real bill into his drawings. He has made his living from this art form for many decades. You can read more about Boggs here, at the on-line Duchampian journal, Tout-fait.

[Image: René Magritte's La trahison des images]

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