Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Drawn Money! Drawn by Hand Bill and the story of J.S.G Boggs

When I received this drawn by hand tenspot from one of my favorite antique finders (as a gift) my thoughts went to one of the greatest contemporary performance artists ever. J.S.G Boggs drew money and spent it! He raised so many questions about the relationshop between money and art that it took New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler a whole book to explain it. Basically, If Boggs wanted to purchase something for 100 dollars, he would draw a hundred dollar bill and spend it for the item. Arrested several times for counterfiting, I think he squeezed out of most charges. He didn't really sell his work...after "spending" a money drawing he would alert collectors where the transaction took place and it was up to them to track down the "Boggs Bucks" and purchase them back from the person who accepted his work of art in good faith. That is believing the drawing was so good it was equal in value to the object sold. His art was thus not valuable only for the drawn bill, the value was in the transaction. Back in the 1980s I was involved in one! A friend who was working on a profile of Boggs for television told me the artist had just spent five of his dollars for a drink at the Prince Street Bar in Soho, NY. I met the bartender, paid her for the bills (which she was happy to sell back) and received the signed receipt confirming the deal. i also subsequently met the artist himself,and he was crazy smart and interesting. Boggs passed away a few years ago. In retrospect, his "carny" background might have contributed to his oeuvre but he sure could draw good money. During his heyday, I recall hearing he had even purchased a motorcycle for a drawn 5,000 dollar bill! Let's just say he took the concept of Trompe l'oeil to the maximum. The bill here is unfinished and anonymous. I am guessing it dates to the great depression, when all most Americans had was a dream. I won't try to spend it. Read about the remarkable J.S.G Boggs in Weschler's book in Boggs: A Comedy of Values, or check his wikipedia page. A fantastic story by a magical artist and con man. Hand drawn "ten dollor bill" by anonymous, circa 1935? Collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb.

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