New York, NY, Friday, December 10, 2021 – Monday night, at Wall Street’s iconic “Charging Bull” statue in Manhattan, artist, math Ph.D. and former hedge fund manager, Nelson Saiers, unveiled his latest in a series of guerilla art installations:  “Cheap Money no. 2.” The installation addresses inflation, the Federal Reserve and “cheap money” (in finance, “cheap money” is a monetary policy where the Federal Reserve sets low-interest rates). The second in his series, this work features an old-school gumball machine once again. But this time, it’s filled with $2 bills (replacing $10 bills from the original sculpture) offered for 25 cents – literally “cheap money.”

The choice of the two-dollar bill has several meanings:

  1. First, the denomination is a nod to one of America’s earliest economic policy debates between Jefferson and Hamilton – the founding fathers who adorn the $2 and $10 bills, respectively. Jefferson was opposed to a powerful central bank (a view shared by Satoshi Nakamoto); Hamilton’s ideas provided the foundation for creating the Federal Reserve a century later.
  2. Second, the number two represents a level of inflation, which the Federal Reserve has aimed for over the last several decades. Recently, however, inflation has been much higher, which many attribute to the Fed’s aggressive policies over the previous year and a half. This has led many to criticize the current Fed and the institution more generally.

bull 1 cheap

The “out of order” sign raises fundamental questions about the Fed over the last several years both economically and ethically. It also relates to the Fed’s U-turn on inflation (Jerome Powell’s remark about retiring “transitory” and tapering), which means it may soon be harder to get cheap cash.

Saiers graduated from the University of Virginia with his doctorate in math at the age of 23 and became a $600 million hedge fund manager until 2014, when he decided to walk away from Wall Street to use math to explain the world – through art.

“What you daydream about typically tells you what you’re most passionate about or you love the most. I never didn’t want to run a hedge fund. It’s a great job. I was just more passionate about being an artist,” said Saiers.

About the Artist:

Nelson Saiers is an artist, math Ph.D. and former hedge fund manager. He previously worked in finance as a Managing Director at  Deutsche Bank and as the Chief Investment Officer at Saiers Capital, LLC (formerly Alphabet Management, LLC). Saiers’ art has been featured in solo shows at Harvard University’s Leverett House and Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. His art has also been displayed at the Plaza Hotel’s Edwardian Room, and multiple New York City galleries. Recently, Saiers installed a 9-foot inflatable rat, covered with Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System references and code in front of the Federal Reserve. He earned his Ph.D. in math at age 23 and during his formative years, survived multiple military conflicts. His experiences of these events include tank battles outside his house as a child in Afghanistan.