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Dollar's future: plenty of zeroes, no other numbers?

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Wendy Fried
The New York Times
Saturday, October 4, 2008

Laura Gilbert, a Manhattan-based artist, is employing her creativity to protest what she calls "the current economic calamity." Ms. Gilbert plans to stand on Wall Street this Tuesday and give away signed and numbered originals of "The Zero Dollar," a slightly downsized rendering of the $1 bill with zeros in place of the ones.

Ms. Gilbert, who began working on the print after the fall of Bear Stearns earlier this year, sees the dollar bill as "symbolic of America's stature in the world." As a reflection of the crisis in the financial markets, she has tried to lower the monetary value of the print itself to zero by creating a very large edition of 10,000.

The artist says she is prepared to "confront financiers" about the losses suffered by investors and homeowners. She also posed a question that may puzzle the financial crowd: "Why should art be worth less just because it's free?"


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