The Art of Money

While a big price tag may not be necessary for a great work of art, the history of art is inextricably linked to money. Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and recently Alec Monopoly, have created notable works of art that incorporate imagery of money, as well as its symbols and language. We offer a selection of artworks on Artsy and complementary artist quotes that address money—as a burden, a gift, and a source of inspiration.

Andy Warhol: “I’d asked around 10 or 15 people for suggestions. Finally one lady friend asked the right question, ‘Well, what do you love most?’ That’s how I started painting money.” [Source]

Jean-Michel Basquiat: “I had some money, I made the best paintings ever. I was completely reclusive, worked a lot, took a lot of drugs. I was awful to people.” [Source]

Keith Haring: “Money is the opposite of magic. Art is magic. The worlds of art and money are constantly intermingling. To survive this mixture the magic in art has to be applied in new ways. Magic must always triumph.” [Source]

Alec Monopoly: “Bernie Madoff was actually my first symbol. When the recession first started, he was the icon of the economy tanking. I did a piece of him with Monopoly money in the background, and I thought, why not do the Monopoly Man?” [Source]

Pablo Picasso: “I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” [Source]

Damien Hirst: “Money is massive...I don’t think it should ever be the goal, but I had no money as a kid and so I was maybe a bit more motivated than the rest. I used to argue with Angus [Fairhurst] and Sarah [Lucas] about that all the time when we were starting out and struggling. They’d say: ‘You’re obsessed’ and I’d be like, ‘It’s important.’ See, if you don’t care about it, often you don’t deal with it, then it screws you. I do believe art is more powerful than money, though. I still believe that. And if I ever find out money’s more important, I’ll knock it on the head.” [Source]

Banksy: “Writing graffiti is about the most honest way you can be an artist. It takes no money to do it, you don’t need an education to understand it and there’s no admission fee.” [Source]

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