Jason Hughes’ Creates Artwork From Shredded Dollar Bills

Jason Hughes - Dollar Bills Jason Hughes - Dollar BillsJason Hughes - Dollar Bills

Now that the US government is not longer shut down (at least for the time being…), it feels like an appropriate time to visit the work of Jason Hughes. For years, he has used money as his medium, literally. Hughes obtains dollar bills previously removed from circulation and shredded by the government. He takes the bills, weaving them together or applying them to panel. With both approaches, it is staggering to think about the amount of work, attention to detail, and time that goes into each piece.

Sometimes, Hughes will take the scraps and weave them together, while other times he will arrange them to form different icons like a heart, bullseye, and eye. The imagery has ties to American culture. For instance, the star inside of the circle is reminiscent of the classic Converse All Star shoes.

The process of Hughes’ work is as important as the outcome. The act of creating a piece explores ideas of labor, value, and worth. It highlights the disparity between skilled labor and industry in the United States. Jobs that are often tedious, like working in a factory, for instance, are very low on the pay scale. But, they make things we have work and keep our homes, buildings, and society running smoothly.  Another Day, Another Dollar (directly above) reconstructs the dollar bill, which seems to say that yes, another day is another dollar, but when you consider the amount of work that went into that single dollars, it isn’t enough.

By taking this shredded money, which was otherwise worthless before, Hughes assigns a new value by changing its context. Now, composed and presented as art, he creates something that is worth much more than the sum of its parts.

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Robert Wechsler’s Stunning Geometric Sculptures Created By Linking Coins

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These incredible coin sculptures were created by artist Robert Wechsler, who was commissioned by The New Yorker to create this work for their October 14th “Money” themed issued. Wechsler’s coin designs are crafted with money from varying countries of origin into geometric, fractal-like shapes. These shapes were created using a jeweler’s saw to cut out notches in the metal and then linked together with other coins. Wechsler has used coins for some of his past work, and most of his sculptures are created with objects from life’s seeming mundanity, like fingerprints, schooldesks, snails, a toaster, and an iron.

Wechsler writes, “Comfortably accustomed to everyday objects and spaces, we are blind to their unseen beauty and elegance. Who looks at a shopping cart or a toaster for the object itself? This state of static expectations is fertile ground for surprise.  It is a conscious re-examination of my subjects that re-instates the novel back into the familiar.  This is the moment of surprise, the moment we discover what is unseen in what is always seen. In reverence for what initially appears modest we get a small glimpse of the boundless elegance of our world.”(via exhibition-ism)

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Rodrigo Torres’s Currency Collages

Brazilian artist Rodrigo Torres creates intricate collages by combining bank notes collected from around the world. Beautiful and painstakingly detailed, they are visually arresting and require a closer look. The ones I find most interesting single out common themes found within a variety of notes, such as crowds, portraits, and buildings/architecture, and showcase unexpected similarities between multiple countries’ approaches to currency design. In Rodrigo’s portrait collage, he positions heads to the right or left, with those silhouettes facing directly to the side seated at each respective end. The majority of head positions are in varying degrees of ¾ perspective; very few bank note portraits seem to face directly forward. Most notes are monochromatic, but differ on the single color used; this in turn creates an aesthetically pleasing rainbow effect. It’s uncanny to see a multiplicity of notes side by side in this constructed context. Despite countless cultural, historical, and environmental differences in nations around the world, their money appears strikingly similar.

Torres’s has been selected by Art Basel Switzerland to be featured in the month’s Art Feature sector in Switzerland, which runs June 14 – June 17.

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Hanna Von Goeler

The economy is down the pipes. Experts say its only going to get worse. But seriously, isn’t it innovative art like this we need to get this country out of this fiscal toilet? During the height of the great depression money was so valueless in Europe that people were burning it to keep warm: uncreative! 

Hanna Von Goelers work incorporates paint, collage, and money to explain cash as a cultural artifact vs. cash as a mass produced item.

A sandwich chewed in the shape of a gun; genius!

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