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Boggs : A Comedy of Values - Lawrence Weschler


A Comedy of Values

Paperback Published: 1st January 1999
ISBN: 9780226893969
Number Of Pages: 170

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In this highly entertaining book, Lawrence Weschler chronicles the antics of J. S. G. Boggs, an artist whose consuming passion is money, or perhaps more precisely, value. Boggs draws money-paper notes in standard currencies from all over the world-and tries to spend his drawings. It is a practice that regularly lands him in trouble with treasury police around the globe and provokes fundamental questions regarding the value of art and the value of money.

Industry Reviews

JSG Boggs is an artist with a difference. This young American specializes in drawing money - and then he goes out and literally spends his drawings. There's no attempt at serious counterfeiting; although the draughtsmanship is breathtaking, he rarely draws both sides of a bank note and makes no attempt to pass off his work as the real thing. Nevertheless, he estimated he's succeeded in 'spending' around a million dollars worth of drawings at face value, by interacting with ordinary people who thought owning a piece of original art was at least as worthwhile as owning a notional sum of money in paper form. Hardly surprisingly, his activities have attracted the disapproval of financial and legal institutions the world over as well as the admiration and support of such artistic luminaries as David Hockney and Gilbert and George. He was arrested by Scotland yard detectives who later dropped the case, bemused. More seriously, he was pursued by a distinctly unamused Bank of England, culminating in a landmark case at the Old Bailey where Boggs was acquitted by a jury despite the judge having directed them to convict. Weschler's scholarly but readable account attempts to disentangle the moral, ethical and aesthetic issues that surround Boggs's brand of subversion. To what extent can paper, or electronic, money be said to have real value, and by whose authority? Is it possible to put a value on artistic endeavour? Can wealth be 'created'? in any genuine sense? With Mr Boggs still very much alive and kicking - and still under threat of legal proceedings - this is a fascinating topical tale, told with elegance, humour and panache. (Kirkus UK)

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ISBN: 9780226893969
ISBN-10: 0226893960
Series: Comedy of Values
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 170
Published: 1st January 1999
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.5 x 12.5  x 1.04
Weight (kg): 0.2
Edition Number: 2