TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Cash drawn by hand

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The Independent Culture
The American artist J S G Boggs takes the connection between modern art and money to its logical extreme: he makes modern art out of money. In his meticulous re- drawing of banknotes, he makes a few key changes to distinguish his versions from the originals. He writes in such inscriptions as 'This Is Legal Art. I Made This One For You]' and 'Just Paper' and he 'signs' each note with a thumbprint on the back. Tonight's ARENA (9.30pm BBC2), directed by Philip Haas, goes 'On the Road with Boggs', as the artist jumps on a motorbike with a suitcase full of notes and Easy Riders his way around the States exchanging his works of art for goods and services. 'The work is never complete till it's been spent,' the artist asserts. A maitre d'hotel accepts one of Boggs' dollars 100 bills for a dollars 90 restaurant tab. The artist, naturally enough, demands a receipt and the dollars 10 change - an integral part of the work. 'Thank you so much for becoming a co- artist,' Boggs smiles. His artistic endeavours have attracted the attention of the authorities. He has been arrested in Britain and Australia and, after secret service agents raided his flat last month, the US Attorney-General is considering whether to charge him with counterfeiting. Maybe they feel you shouldn't take a used fiver from this man, but is it high art or a load of old dosh?

(Photograph omitted)

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