The color of money: New exhibit features artists’ cash, money

The color of money: New exhibit features artists’ cash, money
By Stefano Giovannini

These artists are very good with money.

A new art exhibit called “Money” is showcasing a variety of works by twelve local and international artists featuring their interpretations of currency — such as buttons instead of coins, illustrated bills worth only as much as they’re beautiful, and coded money that visitors can scan with their smart phones.

The value of these bank notes depend on how much people enjoy them, and quite a few people enjoyed Alec Thibodeau’s “Noney” series of funny money.

“He would take these bills into stores and buy things with them. People accepted his currency because the bills were attractive,” said Rebecca Bird, a director at the Tomato House art gallery in Bedford Stuvesant. “So it was being circulated and people were using these as currency. It’s a perfect case study of an artist making their own money.”

Other artists in this exhibit — which is one of the best in Brooklyn right now — didn’t design their money to be spent so much as experienced.

Artist Nouri Zander purchased a money counter off eBay and turned it into a makeshift flipbook that tells the story of a villainouse character named TuTu McTuggles who comes to life when the machine is switched on.

Another set of bills’ are valued depending on how far out in space you are. The conceptual piece titled “Billions and Billions” by Helene Claes is a witty tribute to famed astronomer, Carl Sagan, whose memorial in Prospect Park is where the bills are worth only about a buck, said Bird. The farther away from the tribute you get, the more the money is worth — so naturally you’ll want to leave the atmosphere to add astronomical worth to the bills.

Some artists seem to be making political statements with the valuation of their money.

For instance, Inju Kaboom’s “Billion Bullions” consists of coins that cost a 10-figure salary — just to carry them in your pockets.The piece is a jibe at an economist’s incredible proposal to produce trillion-dollar coins to fix the US financial system.

On the other hand, Seth Scriver’s bills are printed on novelty toilet paper rolls.

“Help yourself,” said Matthew Thurber, another director at the gallery. “I think he wanted us to give it all out.”

“Money” at Tomato House [301 Saratoga Ave. between Pacific and Dean streets in Bedford Stuvesant, (347) 770–7813, www.tomatohouse.org] Through June 1, open Thurs.–Sat. 11 am–5 pm and by appointment.