Last month, our dumpster diving friend in New Jersey, Wanda Wastenot, took us on a tour of thrifts stores, rummage sales, art galleries and public art installations in the Asbury Park area. We bought a full-sized New Jersey state flag for $1.50 along with some other treasures, stopped into Art 629 Gallery to admire Bradley Hoffer’s work (we also loved his murals on the boardwalk and even got a tee shirt with one of his bird designs), purchased a piece by “k-so Stinky Cheese,” the prolific Asbury Park graffiti artist who had stuff up at Hold Fast, and otherwise had fun exploring this famous down-but-not out Jersey shore town.
Our favorite stop was the “piling field.” Wanda referred to it as the telephone pole nursery (Ruby thought it looked like a tree stump graveyard), but a local art aficionado filled us in about this site, explaining that artist Marah Fellicce created the colorful fabric and chicken wire wrappings around some of the pylons as part of the Sculptoure urban art installations. The pylons are pilings from a failed urban renewal project; the tiki faces stenciled on many of the pylons are the work of a street artist (not part of the official project, but the artist received a blessing from Marah to do it), and the stuff that has been piled on top of the pylons is placed there by various people who simply feel compelled to interact with the site. Again, Ruby was reminded of graveyards, the way we leave small rocks on the headstones in Jewish cemeteries or the decorated Gypsy graves or makeshift roadside memorials.