21 Mai 2010 09:09

JAMES HOWARD- BLACK MONEY- London, 22 April through 21 May 2010

By Pei-fen Sung (Londres, Pei-fen Fine Art)

James Howard’s first solo show at 21 Fleet Street includes millions of dollars in wads of ‘Black Money’, loaded onto pallets and stuffed into suitcases and trunks. 
The inspiration for Howard’s work is his Junk email folder. He treasures the emails that most people throw away because he thinks that they paint a very unique picture of the world we live in. He believes that we are experiencing the ‘Wild West’ of the Internet age. “I am drawn to the unregulated side of the net with a sense of urgency - because soon, spam filters will be so advanced, that we will forget that junk email ever existed.”  
The basis of Howard’s site specific installation is The Black Money Scam – an electronic fraud that convinces victims that large quantities of black paper are in fact bank notes that have been dyed for security reasons. Howard has many different email addresses, which he uses to communicate with Internet scammers, and is in constant dialogue with hundreds of them. He receives a vast amount of material from these scammers every day, and they are all convinced that he is an easy target. In a sense, Howard plays them at their own game, in order to further his research.
 All too regularly, Internet scammers persuade their victims that cases full of black paper actually contain cash that has been dyed to avoid detection by customs. Blinded by greed, victims then hand over large sums of money for non-existent chemicals to wash the ‘Dirty Dollars’. Of course, at the end of the expensive transaction they are left with cases full of worthless black paper and an embarrassing story for the police.
James Howard, Fleet Street Black Money 17. Courtesy Peifen Fine Art.
Howard’s artwork adopts the techniques used by shady modern day Internet scammers. Every day for months, the artist collected bundles of newspapers before cutting them to 100-dollar bill size. Sprayed black, they were then loaded into thousands of official US currency straps sourced from the American Federal Reserve.  The installation is made up of cases, trunks and altar-like stacks of cash – each one an offering to avarice.
Along the walls, a series of 100 call cards – reminiscent of London’s phone box ‘Tart Cards’ – peddle the empty promise of chemicals to clean the money. Each one claims to be from a different company, honest and able to do the job – but they all have the same phone number, which, like the internet variety, goes straight to answering machine:  “Please leave your full name, country, passport number, bank details and we will get back to you.”
James Howard, Cleaning Service Card 01. Courtesy Peifen Fine Art.
James Howard, Cleaning Service Card 02. Courtesy Peifen Fine Art.
James Howard, Cleaning Service Card 03. Courtesy Peifen Fine Art.
James Howard was born in 1981 in Canterbury and studied fine art at Reading University and the Royal Academy Schools, London. His multi-disciplinary practice ranges from brash digital advertising campaigns to large-scale sculpture and installation.
James Howard regularly exhibits in London and internationally. He is included in the forthcoming Saatchi Gallery show: 'The Power of Paper' and has been recently exhibited alongside Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Takeshi Murakami in the UK touring exhibition: 'Plastic Culture - The Legacy of Pop'.
Peifen Fine Art in collaboration with Piero Passet Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday 22 April 2010, 18:30 – 20:30
21 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1AA
Open Thursday and Friday, 10am to 6pm and by appointment
For further information, please contact Peifen Sung on +44 (0) 7956 238 582 or email pf@peifenfineart.com (mailto:)
http://www.peifenfineart.com/images/J-Howard-Pei-Fen-Fine-Art/James-Howard-Black-Money-Catalog-email.pdf (http://www.peifenfineart.com/images/J-Howard-Pei-Fen-Fine-Art/James-Howard-Black-Money-Catalog-email.pdf)

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