Monetarism In Action

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Date: 1987

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Public Art


Artist: Marshall Weber

Confronting Bodies: Leonard Filgate

Dates of Action: November 1987

Location: San Francisco, California

Description of Artwork: Monetarism in Action, consisting of a large swastika covered with dollar bills,is a component of The Root, Part One: Bitburg which is the first installment of a thirteen part artwork concerned with negative historical influences on modern aesthetics in the United States.

The Incident: Chain Reaction was an exhibit presented at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery in which artists were chosen by the artist chosen before them. Marshall Weber's swastika, Monetarism in Action, hung in the window of the gallery where it was ripped down and damaged by another artist, Leonard Filgate, participating in the same show. Filgate stated, "I am all for the First Amendment. However, this insulting and offensive display, prominently displayed on the window of the gallery, where it would appear to unknowing passers-by as a statement of what was inside, was just too much for me to accept." The artwork was nevertheless reinstalled. San Francisco Arts Commissioner, Clare Issacs, requested Weber to remove or alter the artwork for the evening of an inaugural party, but Weber refused. The work was then covered by a banner on the outside of the window from January 8 until January 20 when young vandals broke the panes of glass on the piece and removed all of the dollar bills from the swastika.

Results of Incident: Monetarism in Action was attacked three times. Each time, Weber pursued legal prosecution and was denied. The third attack resulted in the complete distruction of the art work by unknown vandals who stole the dollar bills attached to the swastika.

Source: Marshall Weber