If I sent the artist a letter asking if he'd like to exchange a drawing of his for, say, a knitted blanket or a handmade Christmas ornament, what makes that technically "barter," but the exchange of a U.S. government-issued bill a "sale"? Would that be different if I exchanged my handiwork for bills in Euros or yen or Australian dollars or some currency legitimized by the government of a country I have never visited and have no immediate plans to? All these freaky questions are evoked by reading this book, which contains discussion of not only Boggs' work but that of other artists who have involved money in some way in their creation, and the history of money as well. It is a rare work that explains art in a way that makes sense to the rational part of my brain, and such supposedly rational pursuits as economics and law start to seem nonsensical in comparison to art after reading this book. And I do mean that as a compliment.
Saturday, March 23, 2002
Friday, March 15, 2002
Thursday, March 14, 2002
Thursday, March 07, 2002
The book isn't perfect. Since the original version was published more than 30 years ago, some parts of the book have been updated, but others have not, so one is constantly jumping from 1960s prices to 1990s, or left unsure which time period "now" refers to. However, it is useful to read about the effects of the first book, such as the story of President Kennedy's death and funeral arrangements by people who had read the first version and were trying to avoid unnecessary items and inflated prices, not always successfully.
Even if you don't choose to read the book, take a look at The Funeral Consumers Alliance web site or look for a local Memorial Society in your area, for comparison shopping if nothing else. Even if you actually want everything the funeral industry will try to sell you, a little advance planning will keep your family or friends from having to make some quick decisions at a time when they're not thinking straight.