The World’s Most Expensive Ashtray
Marble, bronze, velvet, cigarettes
18”x 21”x 14”
2008

The World’s Most Expensive Ashtray was inspired by the impromptu value assessment one must make when they have to snub out a burning cigarette and there isn’t an ashtray available.  When in this position, the smoker quickly evaluates his/her surroundings and searches for the least valuable, flame-retardant object to use as their improvised ashtray.  This value relationship is then turned on its head by making a traditional art object (like the portrait bust) into an object of disposal.  The work is intended to be interactive, and the audience is invited to use the World’s Most Expensive Ashtray for their own smoking convenience.  The work further investigates the notions of value in the manner in which it is priced, which is to say, it isn’t.  By making the work unavailable for sale it is rendered “priceless”.  While the work can’t be said to have any monetary value, the desire to own the object is transformed to take the place of a price tag and serves as the marker of the objects worth. The largest amount of money offered for the work to date is $10,000.