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Mexican photographer Jesús Jiménez is obsessed with money. But not in the typical way.
His images don’t exactly dwell on what money can buy, but rather on what money is. Using an approach that’s at once playful and brainy, Jiménez photographs paper money—both dollars and pesos—in unusual arrangements.
Some of his photographs show large, abstracted stacks of bills that suggest a tall pile of hand-woven rugs. Bringing his art into the realm of social policy, these stacks are described as being $100,000 worth of pesos sent by Mexican workers in the United States back home to Michoacán.
In other images, bills are wound tightly into a circular shape, at times suggesting the iconic “target” paintings of Jasper Johns. Still other collections of bills are jauntily crafted into curled forms (top). In one potent photograph, a dollar bill rests tantalizingly out of reach within a mouse trap.
Jiménez also trains his lens on ordinary objects set up in a generic space, echoing the deadpan works of fellow Mexican photographer Gabriel Orozco. He photographs grocery carts lined up as if they were dancing (bottom), and computer monitors as if they were sitting around a campfire.
Of these, the most visually compelling is an arrangement of office desk calculators, their unfurled paper rolls spreading and intersecting with a playfulness that’s at odds with the rest of his sober oeuvre.
Through Jan. 15 at the Organization of American States’ F Street Gallery, 1889 F St., NW, Washington D.C. Mon-Fri 9-5. (202) 370-0151