Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Recessionism

Sometimes I wonder where I get all my crazy ideas from, but when I really start to think about it, I find they were inevitable all along. And so it is with Recessionism, a style of assemblage using shredded money. I first became aware of what goes on in the basement of the Federal Reserve Bank here in Chicago while on a field trip with INROADS, an internship preparation program I participated in while in high school. All the old checks and worn out dollars were shredded there. They even gave us bags of shredded money at the end of the tour. Shredded money. Could there be anything more paradoxical? Something so valuable rendered worthless by being grated down to confetti.

In my first painting class in graduate school, my professor suggested I purchase an old suitcase at a thrift store for a project I was working on. Later that semester, while watching American Gangster, a film with plenty of money-filled suitcases, an idea came to me: why not fill the old suitcase with shredded money? I went online and ordered two 5 pound bags of shredded money. Unfortunately, they did not arrive in time for me to complete the project. By the time I got them, I was painting again. And also by that time, I had decided that I wanted to use that suitcase for Worth Waiting For instead. So the money ended up on canvas and the rest is history.

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