Photo on 7-23-15 at 6.10 PM #2

Years ago, I dated a boy whose mom had a part-time job working for an artist.

She didn’t earn money. She received art.

When I challenged this boy on his family’s wealth, he tried to tell me that his family wasn’t affluent. I rolled my eyes. When you earn art for a paycheck, you don’t have problems in life.

That’s when this kid yelled, “My mum has a job! People don’t just work for money, Laurie. Art is currency!”

I was just a kid, but I wondered — in what world is artwork considered currency? OMG, I rolled. On my side. Off the couch. I laughed so hard that I had tears in my eyes.

To this day, I look for opportunities to say things like, “Art is currency!”

Now that I’m older, though, I realize that art can be currency. (Sorta.) It doesn’t pay my mortgage, but it’s a legitimate and thoughtful payment for a favor or a kind gesture.

And when the artwork comes from Doug Shaw, along with a thankful note about our friendship, I’ll accept it all day long.

Thank you, Doug!


  1. This made my day. I worked in art as a curatorial assistant for a year. I thought it was going to be my dream job, but I detested it. However, that said, I cannot open an issue of Vogue or W without reading something about an artist, curator or gallery owner that I didn’t talk to interact with or correspond with 14 years later. Lawrence Weiner ogled my boobs! I talked with Marian Goodman! I had dinner with Hans Ulrich Obrist and Dan Graham! I bought wood with Franz West!
    Art is a priceless currency. 🙂

  2. I would argue that art is currency (no sorta about it). Art has an inherent value (i.e. the market value) as well as an intrinsic value (i.e. market value plus emotional value, social value etc); and with the right artist, that value can increase significantly over time.

    Who knows…the artist could be the next Henri Matisse. A Matisse sketch may not allow you to pay out the mortgage in full, but it would certainly cover it for a few months or, at the very least, look great on the wall while you pay the mortgage off the hard way.

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