Money / Signifiers / Context
When I was a teenager, like many private school girls in Manhattan, I received a Tiffany’s bean necklace when I graduated. When I worked for an insanely rich and non-pragmatic physical therapist at Columbus Circle who’s business was in shambles, she gave me a Tiffany’s tear drop necklace for my hard work. The bean was from my parents, but the drop was from this crazy bitch so I immediately thought of selling it. What the fuck do I need with this empty vessel when I have been working my ass off for 15 bucks an hour? To be fair, if she had handed me the cash value for its worth, I would have immediately drank it up in a bar. Don’t get me wrong, I love money… but mostly when I spend it on experience. One of my teachers at SVA once said that for some people having money in the bank is like being constipated. It feels the best when you are spending it.
I recently found these necklaces in the bottom of my jewelry bag tangled up with hoop earrings and beaded bracelets. The silver had gone a bit grey, lost its shine. I untangled the mess while watching The Keiser Report.
30 years old, I am getting my MFA at Rutgers, continuing a not so lucrative art career, adding some debt to the already well established hole. I am pulling in a paycheck for teaching, which seems like a lot, despite the fact that it is not. Even the thing I monetarily value the most at this moment, my phone, has been dropped, scratched, and overheats in my hands filling me with minor concern. A lady told me she liked my boots (they are almost totally fucked) and we talked about how you love shoes the most right before they totally fall apart. I squatted down and hugged the tops of them and said I was already nostalgic for them. I was lying. I just don’t want to spend money on new boots when I still love these. It snowed and I noticed that my socks were wet. They wont make it through a rain storm.
After I untangled my necklaces I decided to wear “the bean”, despite the fact that I would never in a million years have gotten it for myself. I began to wonder if people would identify it in the same way they would a Burberry scarf. Do they know that a bean makes you happy when you go to school on 92nd St and don’t have enough money for a Kate Spade bag? Does it make sense when I wear it, greyed, with my shitty boots? The context I have given these things, and how I see myself makes the combination kind of hilarious to me, but I don’t know if it reads that way. I love wearing other peoples clothing. Mom was shocked when I wanted to borrow her fake diamond earrings. I don’t like them aesthetically, but I love cognitive dissonance.
CONTEXT. The more I think about it, the more I want to fuck with it. Could there be anything less creative than a person gaining wealth and buying a Louis Vuitton? Could there be anything less creative than assigning value to Damien Hirst’s experimenting with monetizing his art? Someone gains success, someone makes a ton of money, someone gets attention for anything they do. It’s a story as old as the 70’s… and I am bored. When is the tide going to turn? Or, is wealth going to just become less accessible and thus GAIN value again? As the economy crashes, silver prices are going up and my bean is gaining value.