Precious Currency: Two Virgins are Better Than One
Precious Currency: Two Virgins are Better Than One, 2009, (installation view), sparkle glitter, glue, silicone, gold paint, foreign currency, graphite, tempura paint- Holly Stevenson & Sunshine Frère
DIRTY SQUARE GALLERY – PRESS RELEASE
Precious Currency: Two Virgin Marys Are Better Than One
Public View: November 5th – December 3rd
Gallery Hours: 24/7
The inaugural show at the DSG, Precious Currency: Two Virgin Marys Are Better Than One, tackles the impregnable phrase “on the money”. The mixed media work on show plays with the form of the roadside shrine and raises questions surrounding iconography and reproduction. The Marys are depicted on a 1000 Korean Won note and 200 Hungarian Crown Note in sparkle glue (post Raquiv Shaw glitter is now considered a respected medium), pen and acrylic paint. Coins from around the world adorn the back wall of the golden frame in which the figures hover. Interestingly, gallery owner, Koons-Manet decided to retain the vestiges of past users when acquiring the space. The remaining ephemera maintains the Square’s historicity and its sense of place and purpose on Rivington Street.
Sunshine Frère and Holly Stevenson’s Madonna alcove suspiciously becomes a thing of beauty despite its uncanny intention. The work derides the green face of currency’s fraudulently democratic system of reproduction. If God existed, why has he never been printed on a bank note?” they ask. That Church law forbids Usury provides a clichéd get out clause in response to their question. But, then all one has to do is look at Giotto’s Scrovengni Chapel to acknowledge that this question is neither new nor is it facetious. Capitalism and Christianity have always been in cahoots, and the fact that there is a tendency to put do-gooders on currency is visual proof of this imaginative fostering of a happy ‘Fordist’ culture.
The production of Marys and Money are regulated global concerns. Though Man is still relatively timid to admit he worships cash. Could precious currency become a feasible way of injecting spirituality into the metropolis?
Precious Currency is already in circulation, the works having been stolen from Koons-Manet’s gallery in late November.
The artists have given a mixed response to this, Frère stating “I guess whoever stole it needed the virginal bling more than DSG visitors do” and Stevenson aired “I should have attached a Christian booby trap to mine, one that would guilt the individual into returning the money”.
Also questioned on the subject, gallery owner and curator Koons-Manet said “The disappearance of DSG”s Precious Currency is proof positive, that money not only talks, it walks”.