Economi Creatif, Dimanche Rouge, Plaeteforme Gallery, Paris, France
In 2014 France was the most-visited country in the world. Tourism fluctuates with exchange rates, and in the summer of 2013 the dollar was relatively weak against the euro, meaning that it was relatively expensive for US tourists to visit Paris. I began my performance by staging a series of Happy Tourist photographs at all the top cultural sites: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Pompidou Center, and the Arc d’Triomphe. I printed the photos in large format and installed them in the gallery, to be offered for sale.
Paris is a center of global fashion, with the wealthy paying thousands of dollars for haute couture garments whose high price and perceived value reflects the cachet of the designer’s name. I set up a table to offer my dollar-cloth for sale to Parisian fashion and art enthusiasts. My sales pitch consisted of presenting the cloth as a haute-couture article, inverting the normal fashion-for-money exchange to money-as-fashion.
I then took off my clothes and proceeded toward the apex of the entire Money Series project, transforming the money into not an object of art but an experience of art, an ephemeral performative gesture. I taped the money cloth to my body and around my head, over my eyes, then smeared red and blue paint, the colors of both the US and French flags, onto the paper and my skin, including my body as the Work of Art. I then engaged in an earth-oriented dance, and withdrew a sewn-together string of dollars from my vagina, referring to Carolee Schneeman’s 1975 performance “Interior Scroll,” about which she said “This source (the vagina) of interior knowledge would be symbolized as the primary index unifying spirit and flesh in Goddess worship."; in my case the vagina was unifying spirit and flesh in money worship. Finally I detached the money cloth from my body and burned it, dematerializing and purifying the international monetary system.