David Greg Harth is not afraid.
November 4, 2001 11:41 AM   Subscribe

David Greg Harth is not afraid. As part of his ongoing art project in which this New York artist stamps US currency with phrases, he's releasing 'I am not afraid' and 'I am not terrorized'. He needs help circulating the bills.
posted by prolific (23 comments total)
How about he is using the terrorist attack to promote his project. I wouldnt buy his blood money if you paid me.
posted by stbalbach at 12:26 PM on November 4, 2001

Are you trolling, StBalbach? The guy isn't selling anything. Try reading the articles before you post.
posted by Doug at 12:34 PM on November 4, 2001

Does anyone else see the irony of stamping "I am not terrorized" on our money, a smaller symbol of our capitalist economy, of which the Towers where arguably the largest symbol? Now that I think about it, maybe it's not ironic at all, but the most fitting place to put the message.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:39 PM on November 4, 2001

Doug -- Why dont YOU trying reading the article, the entire article including the section where he offers to sell his artwork for cash or credit card. Youve personally attacked me now on 2 threads in 10 minutes... you got a problem with me just come out and say it.
posted by stbalbach at 12:56 PM on November 4, 2001

It is funny that he exchanges the bills dollar for dollar. Is he not implying that his work of adding the stamp to the bills is essentially worthless? Or, is it priceless? Are worthless and priceless not the same from a very high level? If no one would pay you for something, or no one could pay you enough for something aren't you still just standing there unpaid?

Here is an interesting question. If we dipped all of the bills in black ink, 10s, 20s, 50s, the whole lot. Would they still have the same value? I think Harth is missing that the value of the exchange is not in the manifestation of the agreement, but rather the agreement itself. The ephemeral trust that people exchange when they also exchange money.

Although, we all trade money that says "In God We Trust" and I don't even believe in God. Good art makes you think...
posted by internook at 1:02 PM on November 4, 2001

I love it when a fistfight breaks out over art.
posted by internook at 1:03 PM on November 4, 2001

The New York Times about this project.
posted by prolific at 1:05 PM on November 4, 2001

It could be time for some self-policing here.

Anyway, Doug does seem to be correct here; Mr. Harth specifically states that he will "evenly" exchange any money you send him. That means to me that you get back the same amount as you send. It sounds pretty cool, like a free money-laundering service.
posted by boaz at 1:13 PM on November 4, 2001

Doug is wrong and so are you boaz. Mr.Harth is profiting from the transaction. The buyer is acting as a distributor and promoter of his work. Mr.Harth is getting somthing out of selling it. It is not an even exchange. In addition currency is bought and sold all the time. The cash could be used to buy Yen for example which changes in value. This is a buyer/seller relationship, Mr.Harth is selling his work.
posted by stbalbach at 1:37 PM on November 4, 2001

Stbalbach, first off, I can't even find the area of that site where Harth is selling his work. I think it's telling that one even has to search for it. Whatever the case, it is not on the page linked by prolific.
Secondly, it is an even exchange of cash. No sale is made. If you feel uncomfortable with that, he will also, free of charge, send you a stamp to do it yourself.
To call this, "Blood money," is just ridiculous, and thus seems like a troll. Are you refusing to watch television because the Networks all have american flags in their logos? Give me a break.
posted by Doug at 1:51 PM on November 4, 2001

Are worthless and priceless not the same from a very high level?

if the measure for fulfillment is getting paid, yes. if the measure for fulfillment is receiving value, no.
<?php insert(tongue, cheek); ?>
care to guess which is the most likely measure in our society?
posted by quonsar at 2:11 PM on November 4, 2001

Ironically enough does the Treasury not consider this "defacing currency" -- making it an illegal act?
posted by clevershark at 2:21 PM on November 4, 2001

Clevershark: It's one of those laws nobody really bothers to enforce, because it's generally not worth the effort.
Similar to doing your shopping in the next city over, where tax is cheaper, and not giving the government the difference. I'm not even sure what the procedure is supposed to be for giving them the money.
posted by Su at 2:30 PM on November 4, 2001

stbalbach: what's so wrong about making money off artwork? if we could all be so lucky. i'm a writer, and you better believe that when i'm offered money for my work, i take it. i send out query letters all the time for that exact purpose.

if that makes my "art" less pure, then so be it. i have no interest in starving while i try to establish a name.
posted by sugarfish at 2:46 PM on November 4, 2001

Doug, what Mr.Harth calls it doesnt matter. When you give away your money and get somthing in return, youve made a purchase. It may seem like an "exchange" but believe it or not people buy and sell money as a regular daily activity. Ever hear of the Bond market? Why this concept is hard to understand I dont know. The fact the purchase is being made at face value doesnt change the nature of the transaction. Nor the inherent value to Mr.Harth in the transaction otherwise he wouldnt be doing it. If you want to get technical the value of the dollar changes by the minute so it never would be at face value.

And yes its blood money when he is promoting his artwork using the terror attacks, illegally no less.
posted by stbalbach at 2:52 PM on November 4, 2001

You're absolutely right, StBalbach. I'm sorry to have doubted you. He is clearly exploiting the minute changes in the value of the dollar in order to become filthy rich with this scheme! It's so obvious now. If I send him 5 dollars, I bet he makes at least 6 or 7 million from that, and all he'll send me if a dumb stamped 5 dollar bill. Clever, to disguise himself as an artist when in reality he is an evil economic GENIUS!
At first I thought you were nitpicking, and trying to rationalize your nonsensical first post, but now I see the light. Thanks, man!
posted by Doug at 3:06 PM on November 4, 2001

No, you're wrong!

Imagine someone trying to get name recognition by doing something related to a tragic event. I must have fallen into a parallel dimension of evil.
posted by Hildago at 3:22 PM on November 4, 2001

Value doesn't have to equate to revenue.

Rather than generating revenue, Harth is saving 75% of what it would otherwise cost to distribute the work.

In this case, value for the artist is coming through increased circulation, which helps generate awareness outside the artist's own region.
posted by jeffhoward at 4:29 PM on November 4, 2001

People derive value from tragic events every day. Journalists, funeral homes, lawyers, governments, television networks. Anyone who says that there's a human activity that can't legitimately have an economic value attached is naive, or more interested in scoring points with the naive than in debating issues.
posted by rodii at 4:38 PM on November 4, 2001

Although the bills aren't signed, so the awareness is not of the artist, but the art, which for the average shop clerk or hot dog vendor who gets the bills, is just some guy with a stamp.

It is simply an exercise in distribution, not really retail.

Not really worth bickering about.
posted by sycophant at 4:39 PM on November 4, 2001

Gee, I had no idea it's so easy to be an artist. Guess I'll wander down to the office supply store, have them make me up a rubber stamp with a pithy slogan on it (perhaps "I Am A Capitalist Tool") and start stamping it on money. Gee, that takes talent!
posted by kindall at 4:43 PM on November 4, 2001

Why all the copyright notices at the bottom of all the bills?
posted by MarkO at 5:54 PM on November 4, 2001

Of course it's that easy. Now just come up with your own idea and go at it. Then keep it up for 4 or 5 years. Some people are a little slow to come around, but they'll eventually get it.
posted by jeffhoward at 6:06 PM on November 4, 2001

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