The Museum of Arts and Design in New York has a show up entitled Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary, where artists reused masses of plastic utensils and combs, old LPs, dangling eyeglasses, syringes, ladies“™ pumps, pieces of crockery and spools of thread. Read Roberta Smith’s review in the New York Times HERE and then view the slide show of the exhibit HERE
Roberta Smith complains that “the basic experience with these works is: You see the thing, then you see the things it is made of. Something in the way of a punch line follows,” never once mentioning acclaimed painter Chuck Close as someone who has followed this formula ad nauseam. Instead she claims that it was Meret Oppenheim, she of the Dada-ist fur-lined tea cup, who has inspired this trend of repetition with found object assemblages. But Oppenheim was illustrating the absurd, not discovering the beauty in the mundane, nor revealing the power of pattern, an art element especially celebrated in craft. Smith also takes the artists to task for simply making art, by questioning their “carbon footprint” and claiming that they are not really giving the objects a second life, but just enabling them to last longer and take up more space. I suppose she thinks artists should only purchase their materials new from the art supply store, and give up on the notion of experimenting with other media. Or better yet, artists should simply stop making art and therefore reduce their carbon footprint (and then kill themselves in an effort to curb over-population).
Sara at Art Fire News has a more positive take on the show: Life can be about the little things that make up our existence. Sadly, most people don“™t notice or acknowledge the importance of these little things. This is why one art exhibit is working to put focus back on the little things and show visitors the extraordinary in the ordinary.
MAKE ART NOT WASTE!