The book didn’t disappoint and neither did the exhibition. Cash is King, possibly the most anticipated urban art show of the year, packed out the Saatchi Gallery and brought a little bit of refreshing anarchy to Chelsea. An area where of course, the phrase ‘cash is king’ is absolutely true.
Curated by Olly Walker, his shows at the Saatchi have really started to open up a whole new level of awareness for urban artists. Cash is King is just the latest but with the amount of contributing artists and eagerness of the punters, must surely be the most satisfying.
Reichardt and Osborne were the artists leading the charge and responsible for the book itself. It was they who gathered the assembly of contributions from all over the world. It was their own little way of remembering the small militant acts of people who have defaced banknotes throughout history. Their own little way of remembering all those who have stuck two fingers up to authority before them.
That’s gone on for years of course and the act of defacement is actually still illegal in many places. Not that this show is about full on revolution. It’s more about using art to draw attention to the fact that, as artists, there can be power in subverting this ultimate symbol of authority, the banknote! Indeed as artists, there can be power in what they do anyway. Particularly when that power is used to draw attention to issues and to start debate.
Many of the artists taking part were there. The art filling the walls in tiny frames. Over a hundred pieces in all and even then not every piece was exhibited. For many it would be the first time that their work would be hanging in a gallery like this. A proud moment for many that’s for sure with most of the works selling before and on the opening night with just a few remaining on line afterwards.
We spoke to many, including members of the original Treatment Rooms collective. The likes of ATM, Karen Francesca and Lady Muck have been working with Reichardt for years and all have their works in the book. All are still collaborators with each other even now and we’ve featured their work many times on the blog. They joined artists from all over the country including a collective from SSOSVA, the Secret Society of Super Villain Artists. Many of those came down from the glorious north just for the show in order to join up with their London based alumni.
Released too on the night, a limited edition version of the book. Complete with screen printed dust jacket from fellow artist Boo Who it was proving popular with many of the artists being asked to sign their works within it. Just for a moment themselves becoming the types of celebrity all too often seen on the streets of Chelsea.
Well on it’s way to becoming a sell out show, Cash is King is a truly collaborative effort. A coming together of artists from around the World. Many of the pieces in the book have special meaning and many tell their own story. They are testament to the combined efforts of Reichardt and Osborne and everyone who worked with them. Cash might be King but with this show, so too is Art itself!
Cash is King is the book of defaced banknotes from Carrie Reichardt and Bob Osborne. It features a selection of artists works from across the art scene and can be bought from the Rebel Not Taken website. The exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea opened on 30 August 2018 and closed on 7 September 2018. You can read our book review of ‘Cash is King’ here.