In the frame

Show me the money

Andy Bauch, DodgeCoin Initially Valued at $10, purchased January 2018 Andy Bauch

Clever visitors to the Los Angeles-based artist Andy Bauch’s three-day pop-up show, New Money (23-25 March) at Castelli Art Space in Los Angeles, might come out with fatter wallets. The works, made of Legos, all hide a key—“similar to a very secure password, just a bunch of letters and numbers”—to unlock a cryptocurrency wallet, the artist explains. “A viewer of the artwork can back out the visual pattern or colours and shapes to reveal the key.” The works are named for the cryptocurrency and the worth of that amount of the currency when it was bought by Bauch—for instance, Bitcoin Initially Valued at $90, purchased by the artist in April 2016. A wall is projected with a list of all of the works and their fluctuating values, to be updated throughout the show. “New Money is meant to spark a dialogue about the two drastically opposing viewpoints on cryptocurrency, and as a metaphor for the art market,” Bauch says. “On the one hand cryptocurrencies may democratise some of the financial industry and enable lightning fast cross-border payments without fees… On the other hand it’s very clear that a lot of emerging crypto related technologies are shoddy at best. … Are we in a bubble? At the verge of a breakthrough that will permanently change the world? You can imagine many analogs in the art world.”