Obit watch: January 30, 2017.

I didn’t become aware of this until I saw it on the NYT obits Twitter feed, but: J.S.G. Boggs, one of my favorite visual artists, has died.

..he painstakingly reproduced British pounds, Swiss francs and American dollars, with quirky deviations.
On American currency, for example, he might use the signature “J. S. G. Boggs, Secret of the Treasury,” or inscribe “Kunstbank of Bohemia” on a $5,000 bill, or append the motto “In Fun We Trust.” At first he created the notes one by one, a time-consuming process. Later he ran off limited-edition prints.

In the mid-1990s, when Worth magazine asked him to design a note using the Treasury Department’s new guidelines, Mr. Boggs produced a $100 bill with the image of Harriet Tubman as a young girl, anticipating by 20 years the announcement that Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson as the new face of the $20 bill. In 2001, he ran off a series of 100,000 plastic Sacagawea dollars, stamped with his own mint marks and paid for with a $5,000 Boggs bill.

A very quick Google search does not turn up any indication of how much the Boggs dollars are currently going for. Which is a shame: I’ve always figured I’d buy a Boggs artwork when I got filthy rich.

(On a side note: Canadian Tire money is available for surprisingly reasonable prices on eBay.)

The obit mentions Lawrence Weschler’s Boggs: A Comedy of Values, which I think is a fine (though dated) book. But I’d also put in a plug for Weschler’s Shapinsky’s Karma, Bogg’s Bills: And Other True-Life Tales, the essay collection that was my first introduction to Boggs.

Speaking to ARTnews after Mr. Boggs’s death, Mr. Weschler said, “He was just short of being a con man, but no more than anyone in the art world, or for that matter in the world of finance — which, of course, was his whole point.”

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