Contemporary art – What makes it special?

Displayed at the 80th edition of the Whitney Biennial in New York City, Rose Salane’s 64,000 Attempts at Circulation is a collection of counterfeit coins that were circulated in the ticketing machines of New York between 2017 and 2019. This illustration contains slugs in the form of washer tokens, game money, guitar picks, and porn theatre tokens bought from The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 2020. The artist has categorized this collection into 5 themes: faith, imitation, place, chance, and blank based on the face and breed of the fake money.


The imitation and blank categories contain washers which are the traditional slugs, while faith and chance include medallions with Bible verses and arcade/ casino tokens respectively. 

This affair tells a transparent story about the failures of the New York transportation system and its coin-slot sensors and the inaccessibility of travel for some travelers. The anecdote of an illustration anonymizes the classic New York travel experience through five tables and a screen-printed list of everything you can see on the coins, which reads like a poem with no sense. 

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