Like Duchamp, Boggs documents conceptions of value that inform the art world, and investigates how worth comes into being. Furthermore, he plays with economic systems as if they were children’s toys, like Duchamp did with the institutions of the art world.
JSG Boggs drew his very first bill in 1984 while sitting in a Chicago bar. The artist was doodling on a napkin, and the waitress liked his drawing and asked if he would pay his 90-cent bill with it instead of real money, and the “Boggs Notes” were born.
That was the start of JSG Bogg’s strange tale of “economic” art and later on, legal troubles. Boggs began “spending” his very own bills for face value – he would draw an elaborate note denominated $10 in exchange for $10 worth of goods.
Soon after, no doubt in part because of the high quality of illustrations, Boggs notes became very collectible – however, Boggs refused to sell his notes directly to collectors. He preferred to exchange his money for goods, at restaurants, bars and shops, and then tell the collectors where to hunt for the Bogg notes. Boggs likened his economic transactions to performance art.