Money is art and art is money! Last November, German conceptual artist Hans-Peter Feldmann won the eighth Biennal Hugo Boss Prize, an award bestowed by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for significant achievement in contemporary art. The winner received $100,000 and a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim.
Feldmann decided to give back to the museum in a unique way. He used the money to create an installation that involved tacking 100,000 used one dollar bills to the large gallery off the Frank Lloyd Wright ramp! Why used money? “It’s the notion of value in everyday life,” said Katherine Brinson, an assistant curator who is organizing the exhibition. “It’s something we handle every day. And used money has a previous life.”
“I’m 70 years old, and I began making art in the ’50s,” Mr. Feldmann told the NY Times “At that time there was no money in the art world. Money and art didn’t exist. So for me, $100,000 is very special. It’s incredible really. And I would like to show the quantity of it.”
It took about thirteen days for the team of art handlers to completely cover the room from floor to ceiling. To Feldmann, what does his exhibition not symbolize? Guggenheim states, “Bank notes, like artworks, are objects that have no inherent worth beyond what society agrees to invest them with, and in using them as his medium, Feldmann raises questions about notions of value in art. But his primary interest in the serial display of currency lies less in its status as a symbol of capitalist excess than in its ubiquity as a mass-produced image and a material with which we come into contact every day. At its core, this formal experiment presents an opportunity to experience an abstract concept–a numerical figure and the economic possibilities it entails–as a visual object and an immersive physical environment.”
Two interesting things to note. The artist asked the museum to tack the bills vertically for practical purposes or as he says, “It’s easier because they only will need one pin.” Also, in case you were wondering what happens to all that cash in the end, it wil rightfully go back into the pocketbook of the prize winner, Feldmann.
The money walls are on display now till November 2, 2011. Make sure to check this out!
Globetrotting? Here’s some recommended shows worth checking out!
Anish Kapoor’s Massive Balloon Beast
Tim Burton’s Life’s Work at LACMA
New Banksy’s and More at MOCA’s Art in the Streets
Book Surgeon’s New Works and More!