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I just came across this work by Joseph Beuys while researching a Fluxus lecture… if I ever get around to it I resolve to compile a sizable selection of ‘defaced money’ artworks. This piece is from 1979.

The irony of this particular work is the large, iconic artist’s signature that takes pride of place on the face of the note. This authorial statement, the form of a defacement, enacts a particular economic alchemy (such a suitable word in relation to Beuys’ oeuvre): it elevates it even closer to gold and exponentially further away from any intrinsic ‘use value’.

Perhaps, to give him credit, this was Beuys’ intention. Often though, his critical gestures were weighted heavily in favour of his own self-mythologisation.

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