Judge Realty adds ‘Federal Reserve Note’ by Jason Hughes to the Permanent Art Collection

The Judge Realty Permanent Art Collection was founded on the principles of environment, economy, and energy- the three are not only the foundational cornerstones of the collection, but the business as well. On a recent trip to New York, founder and broker-in-charge, Lori Judge had the opportunity of adding a piece, Federal Reserve Note, to the collection that is a direct representation of the economic ideology Judge supports: a free and fair market. Jason Hughes is a Baltimore based artist whose work so perfectly parallels the ideals of Judge and her company that the connection with his work was instantaneous.Federal Reserve Note by Jason HughesFederal Reserve Note by Jason Hughes

“I want everyone to see his work in an artistic and educational way. What he’s talking about is really important because so many people are unaware about current economic issues. His work is the first step in starting that conversation and allowing everyone to understand what’s happening,” said Judge.Image Courtesy of Jason HughesImage Courtesy of Jason Hughes

Hughes’s work is rooted in the abstract relationship between labor, value, and wealth, focusing on the deconstruction and repurposing of physical currency. The irony of Hughes’s discussion about currency and its cultural valuation is that when creating another recent work, Evergreen, the Federal Reserve gave him 1000 pounds of shredded, decommissioned currency, about $2.5 million that he then used to produce other forms of currency.Image Courtesy of Jason HughesImage Courtesy of Jason HughesImage Courtesy of Jason Hughes

Evergreen, a decaying pyramid built with blocks made from shredded cash has never been more relevant. Hughes said, “It’s really about how unfettered capitalism and money in politics are eroding our democracy. A pyramid is not just architectural, it’s representative of a hierarchy, and in Evergreen the hierarchy is crumbling.”

Hughes said, “Working on Evergreen was actually really fun, there were lots of happy accidents. I started washing the money to prep the material for casting bricks. By the end of the day what was left was this oily, brown, smelly water. It was fascinating to see the residue from our daily transactions, something that connects all of us as it passes through our hands. In a sense these transactions almost function on an energetic level because currency flows between us, connecting every laborer, consumer, and billionaire throughout the world. All of our hands are dirty. So I boiled this residue down until it was this thick, muddy sludge that now I’m using as a watercolor pigment. It’s all still in a very crude phase but it’s about the inevitable contradictions between the environment and the economy. A radical change is necessary to slow down climate change and the current economic policies of endless growth are only worsening the situation. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein really inspired me when I thought about what to create with the pigment. I immediately started sketching landscapes that are threatened by neoliberal policies and climate change due to those policies over the last 30 years.”

To learn more about Jason Hughes and his work visit jason-hughes.net or come see the Judge Realty Permanent Art Collection at 347 Abercorn St. Savannah, GA.

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