We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
TO JAN. 28, 2000
Yep, those are real dollar bills littering the floor of George Washington University’s Dimock Gallery. The currency is part of an installation by J.S.G. Boggs, an artist who has built a career out of drawing detailed copies of U.S. banknotes and using them—despite their wild colors and quirky wordplay—to pay for real things. (On Broadway [Dance Dollar] is pictured.) Assembled for the bicentennial of George Washington’s Dec. 14 deathday, the Boggs-curated show juxtaposes historical etchings and paintings—George on horseback, George with Martha and the kids—from GWU’s permanent collection with contemporary renderings of the first prez by folks like District artist Michael Clark. The show’s Boggs-assembled installation looks like the scene of a souvenir truck accident: Paintings, busts, and etchings are propped here and there, and dollar bills both real and faux litter the walls and floor. Boggs’ strongest work, however, is his documented transactions: While in town for the exhibition’s opening, the artist successfully used “Boggs bucks” to buy himself breakfast at a Capitol Hill diner. He proffered a $50 “Federeal Reserve Note” to pay his $10 tab and got back the two snappy new twenties tacked to the wall here. Boggs recorded the bills that changed hands on his mint-green guest check, which includes serial numbers, signatures, and the artist’s fingerprint. Kudos to the smart waitperson who accepted Boggs’ blue- red- and greenback: Unlike the bills in your wallet, Boggs’ money might really be worth something someday. On view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, to Friday, Jan. 28, at George Washington University’s Dimock Gallery, in lower Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. Free. (202) 994-1525. (Jessica Dawson)