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Collections “Greater Japan Zero-Yen Notes” and Bottled Money from Exchange

Collections “Greater Japan Zero-Yen Notes” and Bottled Money from Exchange

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Image
Courtesy Walker Art Center
Rights
Copyright retained by the artist

Copyright

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Title
“Greater Japan Zero-Yen Notes” and Bottled Money from Exchange
Date
1967
Dimensions
jar 13 × 8.5 × 8.5 inches
Materials
glass jar, printed material, envelopes, letters, currency
Location
Not on view

Object Details

Type
Sculpture
Accession Number
2009.2.1-.8
Physical Description
Bundles of Zero-Yen notes and a lidded jar containing correspondence and currency sent to the artist in exchange for zero-yen notes.
Credit Line
T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2009

object label Akasegawa Genpei, One-Thousand-Yen Note Trial Impound Object: Mask (1963) and “Greater Japan Zero-Yen Notes” and Bottled Money from Exchange (1967) Walker Art Center, 2009

The objects presented in this vitrine serve as artifacts of the most notorious scandal in the history of Japanese postwar avant-garde art. Akasegawa Genpei, who founded a trio of performance artists known as Hi Red Center, addressed the fundamental questions of art’s authorship, value, and “place” in the realm of everyday society—issues that operated with special significance for these works. In an attempt to operate outside of the gallery system, he created fake banknotes in 1963, which he used as gallery invitations and as “packaging” for everyday objects, sparking a criminal investigation for currency fraud. A highly publicized trial ensued in 1966, which the artist and his defense team used to leverage courtroom dialogue about art’s status and value. Ironically, while Akasegawa is commonly positioned within a conceptual anti-art discourse, the trial resulted in art’s legitimation, though the artist himself was found guilty of fraud. As if in defiance of these results, Akasegawa went on to generate more currency, this time in the form of “Greater Japan Zero-Yen Notes”—his version of “no-value money.”

Walker Art Center. Extended label for Akasegawa Genpei, One-Thousand-Yen Note Trial Impound Object: Mask and “Greater Japan Zero-Yen Notes” and Bottled Money from Exchange, from the exhibition Event Horizon, November 21, 2009 to August 26, 2012.

Copyright 2009 Walker Art Center