Back to Press Tuesday July 15, 2014

Paddle8 presents Currency, an auction of art works about money

Featuring highlights by Warhol, Baldessari, Koons, and Hirst

Online auction house Paddle8 is pleased to present Currency, an auction featuring works of art that use money as subject matter or medium, exploring ideas of value, investment, exchange, and bling. The auction includes works by Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Claes Oldenburg, and John Baldessari, among other contemporary artists. Currency will be open for bidding on from July 15 to July 24.

“As discussions mount about art as investment—and as artists’ records soar to new heights—this auction takes an irreverent look at the literal intersection between art and money,” said Vivian Brodie, lead specialist for the Currency auction. Paddle8’s specialists sourced dozens of examples of artists’ increasing fascination with money, which they employ by turn for wit (as the ground for a work of art, or by creating counterfeit currencies), for aesthetic value (as a beautiful medium with unique formal principles), as critique (calling into question the value of currency or art), and as “bling” (shiny surfaces and glitter that connote luxury).

Highlights of Currency include:

Andy Warhol Two Dollars Jefferson, 1976. Mixed media, unique on $2 dollar bill, postage stamp, rubberstamp. Estimate: $15,000- $20,000 Simply signing a two-dollar bill is perhaps one of Warhol’s most direct gestures of aligning money and art. The action draws attention to the value associated with artistic authority and the significance of the artist’s hand, while also questioning the value of a work of art’s material support. The work exemplifies Warhol’s sustained interest in dollar bills, which he first represented in a painting in the 1960s. Most famously, his 200 One Dollar Bills set a record for the most expensive Andy Warhol work ever auctioned at Sotheby’s when it sold for $43.8 million in 2010.

Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen, Study for a Sculpture in the Form of a Porte-Monnaie, 1996. Crayon and watercolor on paper. Estimate: $25,000- $35,000 This sketch shows a plan for a sculpture of a small porte-monnaie (a change purse), meant to be rendered as part of Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s body of large-scale sculptures representing everyday objects and American food staples, amplifying their scale to the point of the absurd, comical, and grotesque.

Banksy, Di-Faced Tenner (Signed), 2004. Lithograph. Estimate: $8,000- $10,000 The graffiti artist Banksy is known for his irreverent humor and critically witty pieces created a punning, counterfeit ten-pound note, replacing the queen’s portrait with the visage of the iconic princess, whose death provoked a national and media sensation.

Jake & Dinos Chapman, Flogging a Dead Horse, 2007/10. Pen on inkjet print. Estimate: $400- $600. The Chapman Brothers’ humorous and grotesque counterfeit note examinesvthe problems (and implicit futility) of simply making new money. While their exercise may seem merely flippant, the irony, of course, is that monetary systems have always relied on creating and inventing new forms of currency.

Brad Troemel, Untitled, 2014. Organic hand-pressed Whole Foods vegetable juices and photochromic ink on canvas. Estimate: $3,000-$3,500 Troemel, an emerging artist based in New York, is known for conceptual works that critique or play with the ethos of contemporary consumer culture. “The most effective political weapon is not voting in a democracy, but one’s participation in markets, his purchase of products, his public display of being a supporter of those products, his ability to create an image of political allegiance on the level of objects and images,” says Troemel. For this series, Troemel used Whole Foods organic hand-pressed vegetable juices and yellow, purple, and red Photochromic inks. Photochromic ink is reactive to UV light, meaning it only shows up in direct sunlight or under a black light. Stamped in the photochromic ink are the names of various organizations to which Troemel tithes 10% of his profits, including the ACLU, ELF, and Greenpeace. Owners can customize the degree of indirect political involvement they wish to make visible by placing the piece in or out of a UV setting.

David LaChapelle, Negative Currency: One Dollar Bill Used as Negative, 1990-2008. Chromogenic print. Estimate: $50,000- $60,000 An example of photographer-cum-provocateur David LaChapelle’s experimentation with money in place of negatives. The result is a colorful print that reveals both sides of the currency, transforming the bill into a work of Pop art.

Damien Hirst, For the Love of God, Laugh, 2007. Screenprint with diamond dust. Estimate: $15,000- $20,000 A photograph of Hirst’s landmark sculpture of a platinum human skull covered in 8,601 diamonds, which was bought for close to $100 million. The skull is presented in the tradition of the momento mori, and the print itself is coated in diamond dust.

Bidding is available on Paddle8 from May 22 through June 5, at

About Paddle8

Paddle8 is an online auction house that connects buyers and sellers of fine art and collectibles. Paddle8 has created a marketplace for collectors by presenting authenticated inventory through two types of online auctions: curated auctions of art and collectibles organized around a specific theme or by a cultural tastemaker, and benefit auctions in collaboration with non-profit organizations. Founded in 2011 by Alexander Gilkes, an auctioneer and LVMH veteran, and Aditya Julka, a Harvard Business School MBA and serial entrepreneur, Paddle8 has over 50 employees worldwide, with teams in New York, L.A., and London. Paddle8 is funded by the investors behind Uber, Vimeo, Buzzfeed, Paperless Post, Warby Parker, and Bonobos, among others, as well as art-world insiders including artist Damien Hirst, art dealer Jay Jopling, and Matthew Mellon.

For more information, please contact Sarah Goulet,

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