Robert Wechsler constructed his Mendicant sculptures from thousands of U.S. pennies — artifacts which he says are a symbol of American culture. Despite the fact that they are incredibly common (50 billion are in circulation), Wechsler says that the traditional penny is as much a monument to the nation as the Statue of Liberty. By transforming the legal tender into sculptures, the artis explores not only its functionality but its value.

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The largest of Wechsler’s sculptures uses 26,982 coins which he has cut, assembled and shaped into cube lattices. Inviting visitors to walk around the enormous works in their full glory, Wechsler asks the viewer to also contemplate the idea of monetary significance. The series is currently on display at the International Art Objects Galleries in Culver City, CA, through December 15.

+ Robert Wechsler

Images courtesy of Robert Wechsler