UC Berkeley History of Art Department

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Counterfeit Money, Starring Patty Hearst

Byron Hamann


The Townsend Working Group in Colonial Latin American Art, Literature, and Visual Culture is sponsoring a lecture by Byron HamannAssistant Professor of the History of Art at The Ohio State University. 

Spanning Mexico City, Jingdezhen, the Alexander Archipelago, Southern California, Cuzco, and Manila, this talk will explore the non-monetary uses of money in the Pacific World circa 1800. Historically, of course, “counterfeit” did not necessarily have the negative “forgery-falsification” connotations it has today. Counterfeiting could just mean copying, or, etymologically, “to make in opposition or contrast.” “Counterfeit Money, Starring Patty Hearst” imagines an inaugural exhibition at the Patty Hearst Museum of Anthropology, an exhibit centered on objects made from or inspired by coin money—that is, objects made in contrast to the usefulness of coinage as token of exchange. Surviving artifacts, as well as narrative accounts of Russian, English, and Spanish merchants involved in "the China trade," will be used to create a new kind of It-Narrative chronicling the adventures of coins as they traverse varied imperial and cultural landscapes to interact with porcelain boxes, baskets, wooden masks, and leather jackets.