Artist Profile: Sal Randolph


by Rachel Heidenry

She is an artist concerned with economies. Sal Randolph takes money and gifting and explores their relationship to social interaction and public space. Not limited to the visual world, she is also a celebrated poet and active DJ. Throughout each medium she explores publicness, text and the concept of freeness.

In “Free Words” the artist printed 3,000 copies of a free book and then distributed them to bookstores and libraries worldwide.

In “Free Biennnial” she brought together over 200 artists in a show of free art in New York City’s public spaces.

In “Money Actions” she offered free money to the public by creating a series of interventions that involve open invitations for both donation and pocketing.

Sal Randolph, “Free Money,” Photo courtesy of the artist’s website.

Together, Randolph dives into a side of the art world that is rarely discussed: its economy. From the subtleties of book prices to the complexities of institutional funding, the artist investigates money’s relation to social participation in conceptual projects exploring codes, text, cash and change. Her provocations are both socially intended and personally investigative. As the Boston Globe has stated, “Randolph deliberately sets out not so much to challenge the viewers ideas about art, but her own… when put together, all this anti-art turns into provocative art.”

While certainly provocative, she is more importantly revelatory – a maker of chance opportunities to finance, discover, provide or educate. Her relation to the public remains one of indirectness – it’s not about the artist, rather it is all about the action.


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