Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

Five Dollars from Honest Money
  • Ganzeer
    born 1982
    born: Giza, Egypt
    Booklyn, Inc., publisher
    founded 1999
    Wasp Print, printer
    founded 2011
  • Five Dollars from Honest Money, 2015
  • Ganzeer's Trouble Trunk
  • Where object was made: New York, New York, United States
  • color letterpress
  • Object Height/Width: 161 x 64 mm
    Object Height/Width: 6 5/16 x 2 1/2 in
  • Museum purchase: Shirley Cundiff Haines and Jordan L. Haines Art Acquisition Fund
  • Not on display
  • 2016.0025.19
Description

The recto depicts two African American people wearing chains around their necks. Text at the top reads: “5 Five Dollars, Federal Reserve [sic] note of the United States of America. This note is part of an art project titled “Honest Money” by visual artist “Ganzeer”. This note is not intended as a legal tender for all debts, public or private, although its value exceeds the current value of five U.S. dollars. Series 2015. African slaves before boarding a ship to America.” In the bottom left corner is partially obscured text, reading: “In enslavement we trust.”
The verso is a graph showing the proportions of millions people in prison based on race from 1920-2010. Text to the right of the graph reads: “Five Dollars. By 1700, in Virginia, there were about 6,000 slaves. By 1763, there were 170,000 slaves. As early as 1636, free whites were better off than slaves or servants, but they still resented unfair treatment by the wealthier class. ‘The Wandering Poor’ became a distinct fact of New England life in the mid-1700s. Today, federal prisoners are forced to work for $0.23-$1.15 per hour.”