In early 2012, the Andy Warhol Foundation will dissolve their Art Authentication Board. To fill the vacuum, Ca$h for your Warhol has announced a free authentication service. The board at the Warhol Foundation was a legal liability, frequently accused of favoritism and conspiracy.
This year has been a busy one for Ca$h for your Warhol. Our tanking world economy has forced the sale of many collections. Artist Geoff Hargadon, creator of Ca$h for your Warhol, says, "We get a lot of calls. Everyone thinks their Warhol is worth millions."
During the recent Miami Pulse show, a huge yellow and black billboard advertised the new authentication service. Other signs placed on telephone poles around the country promise Confidentiality Assured!, ¡Se Habla Espanol! and Dealers Protected. These small silk-screened signs mimic the graphic style of the ubiquitous Ca$h for your Home or Ca$h for your Car signs that litter most urban landscapes. As a matter of fact, Hargadon insisted that the same company make his signs.
"Just because it's funny, doesn't mean it's not serious," says Hargo, a nickname. Ca$h for your Warhol was created to blacken the eye of the art speculator, the one who buys art for profit not beauty. Since the project began in 2009, the Boston-based artist has collected over 2,000 phone messages, mostly from people who don't own a Warhol. "A lot of calls are people with a rich sick uncle," laughs Hargadon, "Thinking the old guy might pass away, they take a long look at his Warhol on the wall and call me."
As a money manager who travels for business, Hargadon has placed over one thousand signs around the country. He hasn't been arrested but a cop in Naples Florida made him take a sign down. Stickers, Internet advertising and billboards spread the word. Hargadon's website www.cashforyourwarhol.com documents the installations, which have brought great rewards. His signs are in the collections of a very famous street artist, an international text artist and a high profile museum director.
Ca$h for your Warhol began as a funny idea. Hargadon wanted to put the concept before the art world to see what the reaction would be. There was no end game and the project has evolved naturally. He will continue his stewardship until Ca$h for your Warhol has run its course. "I hope to recognize that moment when it comes," says Hargadon. Until then, art speculators should expect a continued browbeating.
This article first appeared in Artillery Magazine. Based in Los Angeles, Artillery "Killer Text on Art" has just gone national.
All photos have been provided by the artist Geoff Hargadon.
GORDY GRUNDY is a Los Angeles based artist. His visual and literary work can be found at www.GordyGrundy.com