100 Dollar Bills Y’all
100 bills, 100 artists
One of the most infamous aspects of hip hop culture that was gaining ground during the last two years was the constant glorification of wealth through endless references to luxury cars, high fashion or exclusive alcohol brands.
“Okay, Lamborghini Mercy, your chick, she so thirsty
I’m in that two seat Lambo’ with your girl, she tryna jerk me”
– Kanye West, Mercy 2012
“I don’t pop molly, I rock Tom Ford International bring back the Concorde Numbers don’t lie, check the scoreboard”
– Jay Z, Tom Ford 2013
Hip-hop vs Dollars
One of the principal aspects of the “Bling Bling” culture is the omnipresent reference to “making money” or even “making it rain”. Since the 100 dollar bill is the highest denomination in the United States of America, it stands out as one of the main symbols of this (almost always) false culture. The expression “100 Dollar Bills Y’All”, popularized by various artists such as Ice Cube, N.E.R.D. or Wu Tang Clan, gives the title to the upcoming collective exhibition at Circus Network, for which we invited 100 artists to leave their mark on a one dollar note.
The idea to intervene in a one dollar note in contrast with a hundred dollar note serves as a provocation, the antitheses of wealth, the constant “survival” of emerging artists. It also works as a reflection on the changing perception of success that seems to fade out as the days pass. An artist is successful when he´s blowing his money on eccentric nights out? When his bank account reaches the worth of one million? When he gets a hundred thousand followers in social media?
From the very beginning of our existence, we were always especially concerned about working with local artists. For this exhibition though we focused on illustration and street art in general. Those are the areas directly related to graffiti and one of the four aspects of hip hop. It is always worthwhile mentioning that this is a young artistic movement with one of the biggest impacts in the history, visible in the clothes we wear, the way we speak and even in the advertising surrounding us everywhere. We are proud to be a part of this global movement, therefore we think it made perfect sense to extend the list of invited artists to foreign ones to participate in that exhibition.
Apart from presenting the already known artists such as Boogie (CHE) or Flying Fortress (DE), we consider it essencial to give a chance to emerging talents like Mikko Heino (FI) or Lazy Bra (LV) to show their work. We are always trying to be attentive to what happens out of our usual area of action, that way we can keep an eye on the newest tendencies and keep up a good quality level.