Jim Wheat, the artistic mastermind behind the Dollarsandart program, is back with a new exhibition. The show opened on April 15 and 16 at the Dubai International Financial Centre’s Rira Gallery and will now travel around the city through June 15. The show supports the Noor Foundation for the blind and is being held in collaboration with Mercedes Benz and the House of Van Der Haer.
Because of the show’s collaboration with Mercedes Benz, Heroe$ and Villain$ is referred to as “art meets design meets machine” in a post on LinkedIn. On the Dollarsandart website, Wheat himself describes his show as a coming together of Dubai’s “rich and famous” and the “often ignored foot soldiers of Dubai.”
Photo Credit: Jim Wheat
You may remember Jim Wheat for The Money Collection, his first Dollarsandart exhibition in which he used everyday materials, including real currency, from his life in Dubai between 2011 and 2013. He sought to challenge our values and what money really means to us.
The Dollarsandart project started when Wheat began to collect $1 bills he had signed by celebrities he collaborated with and got to meet. Among the big names he has met are business magnate Donald Trump, the Manchester United team, “Wolf of Wall Street” Jordan Belfort, pro boxer David “The Hayemaker” Haye, DJ Carl Cox, and horse racing legend AP McCoy.
Wheat then collected 20 of his original pieces of art to make up the Heroe$ and Villain$ exhibition because he wanted to encourage the celebration of life and spur reflections on money’s impact on society. He notes on the project’s Facebook page, “There seems to be an unwritten rule in life that money is integral to happiness and that fulfillment is a natural by product [sic] of money.”
In putting together the exhibition, Wheat had the opportunity to collaborate with people from all walks of life. Many of the paintings in this show feature $1 bills, not only some that were signed by celebrities but also some that were signed by “everyday members” of the Dubai community. The artist wanted to focus on the chasm that exists between celebrities and the average citizen.
Photo Credit: Jim Wheat
Wheat quoted a sentence from England’s Queen Victoria which certainly seems fitting of his work and this project. She said, “Beware of artists, they mix with all classes of society and are therefore the most dangerous.” Clearly Wheat has made it his mission to mix with everyone he can possibly meet, no matter what their vocation or position in society.
He created each painting using mixed media with a goal of bringing forth nostalgia while also challenging what’s on the surface and putting it up against our sentimental feelings. The show itself didn’t just offer an opportunity to see some incredible art. It also offered up experiences like the chance to trash a $10,000 couture wedding gown. For those who loved hot cars, there was also a gold Mercedes S class shown outside the venue on the opening nights.
All of the pieces in the show are up for sale.