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July 21, 2011 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Pop-Cultured Currency - Technically, defacing US currency is a crime – but artist James Charles doesn’t seem to be in any legal trouble for his awesome series of Pop Culture Cash. His portraits, created on real money using ink, turn dead presidents into colorfully amusing pop culture icons. Alternate site with larger pics.
posted by KevinSkomsvold (22 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
"His work calls into question the ultimate value of this currency we place so much value on but which ultimately is little more than paper and ink."

Sure it does.
posted by oddman at 2:30 PM on July 21, 2011


I'd be happy to take that "little more than paper and ink" from anyone who has actually been called to question it's value.

That said, Mr. Charles has made some amusing art.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 2:37 PM on July 21, 2011


Cecil on 'defacing' currency.
posted by MtDewd at 2:38 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pretty neat, particularly Frida and Vincent. But I wish we could call a universal moratorium on freaky clowns. : /
posted by Glinn at 2:44 PM on July 21, 2011


National sport where I come from.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:44 PM on July 21, 2011


Technically, defacing US currency is a crime...
So, then...Whomever was pimping those National Park $2 bills on tv...they're in jail now, right?
posted by Thorzdad at 2:45 PM on July 21, 2011


Related. Boggs on the blue.
Similar.
posted by chavenet at 2:45 PM on July 21, 2011


When I was in grad school I remember explaining to a fellow library worker that currency had no inherent value. He said if that's true why don't you rip up that dollar bill. So I did. He turned white as a ghost and told management. I was asked not to do it again.

What the Rand Paul types don't realize is that gold itself is artificially valued. Whose to say its worth so much? Why not titanium? Its more rare.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:09 PM on July 21, 2011


To me, this looks like Herbert Kornfeld. Am I wrong?
posted by benito.strauss at 4:14 PM on July 21, 2011


I was just last night discussing with a friend the fact that US currency exclusively honors politicians... What's up with that? Surely Richard Feynman is more worthy of a place on a bill than, say, Hamilton or Jackson...
posted by kaibutsu at 4:34 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


GORGEOUS work here!
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:36 PM on July 21, 2011


Somewhere I still have the American dollar bill I received with the words we are forced to bed, but we are free to dream written across it in magic marker.

It's a Tragically Hip lyric, they are sort of the iconic Canadian band, and it all combined to make my day!
posted by mannequito at 5:19 PM on July 21, 2011


This is more like refacing, though.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:19 PM on July 21, 2011


What's up with that? Surely Richard Feynman is more worthy of a place on a bill than, say, Hamilton or Jackson

I disagree, Hamilton was really something else. The guy wasn't a Virginia planter that sat on his laurels, he was illegitimate son born in the Caribbean, youngest major Founding Father, and would probably have been president if not for his untimely death in a DUEL.

I think the country would be at least a little different if Hamilton survived and became president, as Hamilton was in many ways the Anti-Jefferson.

Yeah, I'm a bit bias. I like Hamilton more than TJ.
posted by FJT at 5:53 PM on July 21, 2011


but artist James Charles doesn’t seem to be in any legal trouble for his awesome series of Pop Culture Cash

By bringing it to the attention of the billion+ lurkers at the world's 4th best site helps his cause how?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:04 PM on July 21, 2011


man, "Pity the Fool" would be SO much better that in God we Trust
posted by the noob at 8:32 PM on July 21, 2011


I always suspected that Gene Simmons was secretly Benjamin Franklin in disguise...
posted by Dr.Enormous at 3:50 AM on July 22, 2011


When I was in grad school I remember explaining to a fellow library worker that currency had no inherent value.

True enough, but kind of irrelevant in the real world. I mean, would you have performed your thought experiment with a hundred dollar bill? A thousand? A fifty?

Value is relative to the individual's circumstances. (Bill Gates might have performed said experiment with a Benjamin even if you wouldn't.)

Our artist values his work at six hundred dollars a pop. No word if would be buyers value them equally.

Boggs, more of a performance artist, God love him, refuses to pin down a dollar value at all.

I always suspected that Gene Simmons was secretly Benjamin Franklin in disguise

Granted (sorry), they both liked the ladies, but other than that you are traducing Franklin most horribly.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:38 AM on July 22, 2011


(Correction - Boggs uses face value for value. Others place it rather higher)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:11 AM on July 22, 2011


uncanny hengeman: "but artist James Charles doesn’t seem to be in any legal trouble for his awesome series of Pop Culture Cash

By bringing it to the attention of the billion+ lurkers at the world's 4th best site helps his cause how?
"

And by insinuating a post on MetaFilter will be his downfall helps this post how?
(and BTW, MetaFilter is the 1st Best Site).
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:44 AM on July 22, 2011


Modifying US currency as art is protected under The First Amendment.

Laws against defacing US currency only applies to fraudulent activities.
posted by NipplesOfTheFuture at 12:45 AM on July 23, 2011


Modifying US currency as art is protected under The First Amendment.

Laws against defacing US currency only applies to fraudulent activities.


In the early 1990s our Prime Minister autographed a couple of $5 notes for a Joe Sixpack and boasted on camera how he'd increased their value. It was a member of the public who initially got the ball rolling I think, but it was headline news for the day "why isn't he being charged by the Feds?" type deal.

A nice pic of his crimes here.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:27 PM on July 23, 2011


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