There’s no doubt that the pandemic has affected all of us in so many different ways. Many of us have found or revisited old hobbies or used the time to reconnect with long lost friends and relatives or just used the time to catch up on who we are.

There is a conceptual artist in New York City that used the time to create a monument to the troubling times that the pandemic has caused. It’s not some sculpture, or flag or painting. The monument is of the smallest variety. The monument is inscribed around the outside of the penny.

Jill Magid realized her message on her penny monument by inscribing “The. Body. Was. Already. So. Fragile.” around the outside of 120,000 pennies which represented the $1200 check which most unemployed people were issued from the government as relief after the pandemic hit.

Creative Time via YouTube
Creative Time via YouTube

She purchased a laser machine that engraved her message carefully around the outside of each of the 120,000 pennies. Her goal was to distribute the engraved pennies, so she carried boxes of the wrapped monuments to bodegas throughout New York and purchased candy or items at face value at these stores after giving her pitch.

Some bodega workers at first accepted the monuments and others didn’t want anything to do with the special pennies. In some cases customers overhearing her pitch wanted to buy or get a roll or two for themselves and Jill was happy to oblige.

I don’t know why Ms. Magid chose the penny as her canvas to pay tribute to this pandemic that’s caused havoc throughout the world but her efforts seem sincere and not for personal gain.

I find it ironic that the US Mint has confirmed that they will stop production of the penny on April 1, 2021 stating that the cost to produce the penny and account for them are more costly than the face value of the penny.

So the next time you get a penny from a retail outlet, check the outside of that penny, it could be one of Jill’s monuments.

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