Sunday, August 21, 2011

"100,000 Dollar Bills" by Hans-Peter Feldmann

Hans-Peter Feldmann, Guggenheim, NYC, 2011.
How much is $100,000? What exactly does it look like? Have you ever seen $100,000 all at once? What is the scent of American currency? What would you do with  $100,000 if you were an artist and that was your prize money? Well, Hans-Peter Feldmann answers all those questions and more in the current installation at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

Hans-Peter Feldmann, Guggenheim, NYC, 2011.
There are so many things that could be said about this exhibit, from the quality that the pre-circulated currency conveys, an everyday and all to familiar object touched by the hand of the common person and now elevated to new heights when presented as fine art, to the pattern the material makes when covering all the walls and columns of a sizable gallery, to the feeling of tranquility one encounters when entering this sanctuary to the green back dollar.

Hans-Peter Feldmann, Guggenheim, NYC, 2011.
Repetition is a powerful hypnotic in and of itself, and when combined with the aphrodisiacal properties inherent in cold, hard, cash, words falter to describe the energy present in this exuberant installation. Hans-Peter Feldmann is know in the art world for taking the mundane and everyday, and transforming it into political and artistic statements. A wallpapered room of singles is the perfect medium to achieve his artistic and aesthetic goals.
Hans-Peter Feldmann, Guggenheim, NYC, 2011.
Then again, it brings me back to my reoccurring questions: What is the value of art? What is art worth? And is it worth more or less depending on the material it is created from?  Those questions, I will allow you to ponder. What I can say is that entering the space, a feeling of wealth rushed over me. As I made my way around the room in a meditative state, I absorbed the energy emanating from the high walls and columns. I breathed in the distinct scent of the familiar dollar bill and let the magic wash over me. My date for the evening, Adrina, and I both felt a personal and financial blessing from the experience. (Hopefully I will be much wealthier the next time you hear from me!)

Alton DuLaney, Guggenheim Museum, NYC, 2011.
And the good news is, for the artist at least, when the exhibit comes down, all 100,000 dollar bills go back to his bank account, compliments of Hugo Boss, who funded the prize and exhibit.

For more on the exhibit see the Guggenheim website: