Mark Wagner is best known for his intricate collages made entirely from deconstructed US dollars and periodically International currencies. Wagner destroys thousands of bills yearly to create works which pointedly and playfully explore the intersection of wealth, power, value, and American identity. Wagner's audacious (and unlawful) destruction of this revered icon of American commerce is checked only by his virtuoso material manipulation, which renders what you will... portraits, plant life, fantastical beasts, or allegorical scenes recasting George Washington in every roll.
Wagner's artwork is an entry point to a conversation extending far beyond the art world. Decades dedicated to destroying banknotes has provided Wagner with a unique perspective on the nature of money. Modern man's obsession with finance and our wistful attempts to tame it through economics belies money's emotional, mercurial... even fictional nature. Wagner addresses these issues in writing, lecture, and interview as eloquently as he does through his artwork.
Wagner's work is collected by dozens of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the US Federal Reserve Board, and the Smithsonian Institution. It has shown extensively including at The Metropolitan Museum, The Getty Research Institute, and National Portrait Gallery. It's been seen in Time, Newsweek, Harpers, and Art in America as well as on CBS, PBS, and the silver screen.