In the tradition of his many fine profiles of subversive merrymaking, including the bestselling Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder, New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler chronicles the antics of J.S.G. Boggs, a young artist with a certain panache, a certain flair, a certain je ne payes pas--an artist, that is, whose consuming passion is money, or perhaps, more precisely, value. What Boggs likes to do is to draw money--actual paper notes in the denominations of standard currencies from all over the world--and then to go out and try to spend those drawings. Instead of selling his money drawings outright to interested collectors, Boggs looks for merchants who will accept his drawings in lieu of cash payment for their wares or services as part of elaborately choreographed transactions, complete with receipts and even proper change--an artistic practice which regularly lands him in trouble with treasury around the world. Boggs: A Comedy of Values teases out these transactions and their sometimes dramatic legal consequences, following Boggs on a larkish, though at the same time disconcertingly profound, econo-philosophic chase.
For in a madcap Socratic fashion, Boggs is raising all sorts of truly fundamental questions--what is it that we value in art, or, for that matter, in money? Indeed, how do we place a value on anything at all? And in particular, why do we, why should we, how can we place such trust in anything as confoundingly insubstantial as paper money? In passing, Weschler frames a concise, highly entertaining history of money itself--from cowrie shells through hedge funds--such that Boggs will delight and fascinate both general readers and seasoned professionals, especially amidst the chaos currently roiling financial and art markets throughout the world.