Fri 12/20 @ 6pm
Ever wanted to write a message on a dollar bill (like “you are my slave!”)? Local artist and Cool Cleveland contributor Josh Usmani takes this one step further and, instead of writing on money with a Sharpie, creates elaborate drawings on “real” U.S. and international currency.
View his drawings in his latest solo exhibition, FUNNY MONEY, opening at Naji, Naji and Tekler @ 78th Street Studios. The show is a tongue-in-cheek “CeLeBrAtIoN” of the Federal Reserve — that privately-owned central bank that totally sounds like a government entity that prints our money and regulates our currency rates.
“Conceptually, there are many layers to this collective body of work,” says Josh. “Unlike traditional paper or canvas, these bills have a life, purpose and artificial value before they find their way to me. The creases, marks, stains, tears, etc. tell a story like wrinkles and scars on flesh. Each bill is given a unique serial number and identified with its date and location of origin – giving it individuality – like a name or social security number. Some even have tracking chips embedded inside of them.
“After I draw on them, the bills become worthless – obsolete and irrelevant – at least in terms of their initial intention. Some people might say I’m destroying money, but if the creation of new money causes a loss of value through inflation, then I view my work as raising the value of every ‘surviving’ bill. In this way, I’m raising the value, not just of the bills I draw on, but the rest of the monetary supply overall.”