What Is a $100,000 Bill Doing on This Billboard?

Social currency next to the High Line

Talk about a big bill. John Baldessari's 25-by-75-foot image of a $100,000 note—an art installation next to Manhattan's High Line elevated park—clearly qualifies. Some commenters have already made the "bill board" pun, but I'm coining "bill bored" because Woodrow Wilson's stern, outsized mug grows tiresome awfully fast. $100K bills actually exist. They were printed during the Great Depression (I bet that boosted the nation's morale!) but never publicly circulated. They're illegal to own, so if you see one on the pavement, best to just leave it there—though it would be a hoot to buy a Sprite with one at Duane Reade and watch them try to make change. (For more fun, add a pack of gum and ask, "How about now?") Is the installation a commentary on our troubled economic times? Let it decay in the elements for a few years, and its statement might become somewhat more profound. Of course, the currency of any work of art is in the eye of the beholder. In this case, that huge bill is undeniably worthless—which may be the most salient commentary of all. Photo by Bill Orcutt. Via Co. Design.