New York’s Armory Show hasn’t even started and one artist’s piece is already generating controversy. The Observer reports that sculptor, painter and Pioneer Works founder Dustin Yellin shredded $5, $20 and $50 bills totaling $10,000 in a wood chipper. He then then applied the valueless, torn-up money to eight canvases. Titled, “The Riches of God’s Love unto the Vessels of Mercy,” the project is a collaboration with collective Bazaar Teens. It will go on sale at the Spring/Break Art Fair, held during the same week as the big art event.
And here’s the kicker: the group is attempting to sell each painting for $10,000 at the fair. The proceeds will go towards grants for eight high school seniors interested in becoming artists. The piece was not without controversy even, within the group — and yes, Yellin is aware that tearing up currency is illegal.
“We are interested in tracking how value is performative, and if the destruction of the money has been recouped if it becomes a physical artwork on the wall,” he told the Observer. “The intention to be charitable; does it increase the value? Or will a collector see buying a piece of art as an act of charity?”
Two of the eight paintings are unfinished, and participants will be invited to help paint them at the show.