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St. Petersburg Times
Weekend Section: "Beyond the obvious present"
May 03, 2001
Issue - Pg 27
Author: Brandy Stark

One artist reinterprets money's universal value, while another visualizes traversing Earth in alternative fashion. And the gallery showing them is not yet built.

ST. PETERSBURG - The corner of Sixth Avenue and Ninth Street S may seem a barren field with a few discarded odds and ends, but take a closer look. The bumper that sticks out of the ground? That is an artwork by David Greg Harth, Bumper Crop (A Study). See the small orange dot on the telephone pole next to Booker Creek? It is part of the newest works by j.s.g. boggs, "one (not just another)." The field itself is the current home of the Szilage (sil-AH-shjay) Gallery, which is hosting the shows through May 31.

As the names of his best known works - Boggs-Money Coins and Boggs-Bills - imply, boggs, 46, bases his art upon money, often printing his own versions of currency. He sometimes alters the portraits on bills to represent himself or others he knows.

The current show, "one (not just another)" displays his newest work: 100,000 bright-orange plastic coins based upon the design of the $ 1 Sacagewea coin. The coins mimic the original in many respects, though they do sport the "Boggs" name on the front and have been signed by the artist. As for the orange color, the artist chose it to represent his home state of Florida. The coins will ultimately be shown in the 2001 Chicago Art Fair, one of the nation's largest contemporary art shows.

Boggs' art has caused some controversy. He has twice been arrested for counterfeiting, in London, England, and Sydney, Australia, but was acquitted both times. In the United States, he was subject to raids by the Secret Service from 1990 to 1992. No charges were filed, and in a countersuit the Secret Service was ordered to return his artwork.

Despite those difficulties, he continues to create his works and has been successful in spending over 3-million of his own bills. He doesn't try to pass them off as legal tender. Instead, he swaps them for goods and services, based on their value as artwork.

"My subject is money, a universal symbol that leads to the representation and study of the universe. With this show, I have 100,000 coins that were minted, yet each coin is unique. It is its own individual self. Part of that expression regards who we are as people.

"There may be billions of people on the face of the planet, but those people are not interchangeable. Everyone is an individual," boggs said.

Mixed media artist David Greg Harth, 25, has named his show for the main piece in the display, Possible Transportation to East Indiaman Ridge. It features a signed shovel dug into the ground, one in a series of 10 shovels that he is placing around the country.

Where did the title come from? Simple: If you could dig straight down from St. Petersburg through the Earth and out the other side, you'd emerge at the East Indiaman Ridge, the site of a historic shipwreck off the coast of Australia. Each of the other shovel pieces will be named accordingly, depending on where it is placed.

Not only is this art conceptual; so is the "gallery." Owner Tiffany Szilage is currently planning a building, which she hopes will be completed by the end of the year. If you want to see works that cannot be left out in the elements, call her for an appointment.

PREVIEW: "one (not just another)," and "Possible Transportation to East Indiaman Ridge" at Szilage Gallery, 601 Ninth St. S, St. Petersburg. Through May 31. You can see the show anytime, though to see the full show, call for appointment. Call (727) 896-5504.

Copyright 2001 Times Publishing Company