Meet the man selling bundles of cash on Instagram and calling it art

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but what about value? It’s been well over a century since Oscar Wilde surmised that we knew the price of everything and the value of nothing, but today, that sentiment seems to hold truer than ever. Meet Matty Mo, an LA-based artist known better by his internet monicker — “The Most Famous Artist.” His latest project involved selling money for money — as art. Believe it or not, he’s made a huge profit selling wads of money on Instagram and Digital Trends spoke with him to find out why.

“Good art raises more questions than it answers.”

In his latest stunt to become more famous, Mo listed a series of 10 art objects for sale and sold every one of them, netting himself $50,000. Titled “One Hundred Thousand Dollars,” these art pieces resemble a stack of 1,000 $100 bills, but their true monetary value is a mystery. They are likely worth somewhere between $1,000 and their selling price of $5,000. Each had 1,000 U.S. legal tender bills (likely mostly $1 bills), bound in a stack by rubber and currency bands.

He promises that upon delivery, each of the works will be accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity that includes 1,000 unique serial numbers for each piece of currency used to create the art object.

T-Mobile Offer: Get 4 lines with 10GB of LTE data for $35 a line per month

And what exactly was his profit margin? Did he actually make $50,000? Mo says that the figure actually isn’t important.

“Let’s not focus on the value of the money,” he told Digital Trends when asked about the actual value about the pieces. “That is like analyzing how much material cost went into a painting and scrutinizing the margin the artist is making once the painting sells. It is a well known fact that a painting made from $250 of materials can sell for millions at auction.”

Rather, Mo says, he chose money itself as a medium to provoke thought. “The impact of my art can only be measured by the discussion it stimulates,” he told us. “Good art raises more questions than it answers.”

Mo plans to hand deliver the pieces to the 10 buyers, most of whom are located in New York City and Los Angeles (there was one in Illinois). A bodyguard and camera crew will accompany him when he makes his deliveries.

But more important to Mo than the $50,000 he’s accrued as a result of his project is what he’s learned about human nature. We spoke with Matty Mo to learn more about his thought process.

Inside the mind of ‘The Most Famous Artist’

In terms of his inspiration, Mo notes that he was heavily influenced by the Dada Movement and Duchamp, both known for turning everyday objects into art. “A few days before I created the artwork, I discovered a story about the rapper Bow Wow getting busted for posting an image of around a million dollars cash that didn’t belong to him,” said Mo. “As I thought a bit more deeply about that incident, I began to think of a number of scenarios around perception, wealth, and fame that I wanted my art to explore.”

Only 1 "One Hundred Thousand Dollar" brick left… It's made of 1,000 bills of US legal tender. For sale for $5k on my site…

A video posted by The Most Famous Artist (@themostfamousartist) on

“The work facilitated a discussion that exposed both the beautiful, thoughtful, intelligent and the ugly, greedy, cynical side of complete strangers connected online,” Mo told us of his experience selling his pieces. “I learnt about speculators, greed, confusion, and rage,” he continued. “I learnt about perception, expectations, and trust. I learnt about the value of art and the value of money. And I learnt about the relationship between the two.”

While Mo says that he had no idea what to expect when he first listed his art online, the results were curious just the same. “I was surprised by how quickly the artwork sold out,” he said. “It is not every day you hear about an artist (or any business for that matter) selling $50,000 of their product in a few hours without any paid marketing, press, or sales agents.”

And one of the questions that should remain unanswered, the artist notes, is how much money he’s delivering to his buyers. “If each piece is preserved as an art object as intended,” he said, “I will be the only one who knows how much money has actually been delivered.”

Staying coy, he added, “I may have made a profit. I may have lost money to facilitate the discussion. I may have made the currency delivered equal the exact acquisition price of $5,000. I believe the viewers and collectors of this work enjoy that mystery. I believe the unknown is what drove such a vibrant discussion of the artwork. I’d hate to spoil that magic.”


Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.

New ‘Stardew Valley’ content on the way, as game’s maker freezes next project

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone said that he will continue working on new content for the indie farming simulator. The developer previously said that he will devote all his time to his next game, but that has been placed on hold for now.
Home Theater

Radiohead, The Cure, and more to join Rock Hall of Fame. Listen to their hits

Radiohead, The Cure, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, and more have been selected to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. Here are our favorite songs from the four artists' hit-filled careers.
Movies & TV

Sit down and watch some of the best stand-up comedy on Netflix

Feeling a little funny? There are hundreds of hilarious comedy specials out there, and you can't be expected to comb through them all. Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of the best stand-up specials on Netflix.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.