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Perry Blue Chair

Sarah Hollis Perry, At Home (blue chair), chair upholstered with New York Times bags

Opening Friday, Sept 10th, 8pm, at Flux Factory, Long Island City, NY, running from September 10 - 25, 2004:

REFUSE: functional art objects and music made from waste.

Project statement
There is an alchemical process that takes place when waste is converted into something useful. REFUSE is a collection of work by artists who apply this process to castaway raw materials reshaped into functional art objects and sound sculptures. The exhibit will include pieces whose emphasis is on form and function, making scavenged material an integral, possibly unapparent element of the work through skilled transmutation. An apparent dwelling space within the gallery will be assembled with pieces ranging from dresses woven from cassette tape ribbon (Alyce Santoro), a chair reupholstered with woven blue new york times bags (Sarah Hollis Perry), chairs fashioned from recycled road signs (Boris Bally) and tables crafted from scrap wood (Scrapile). Several Interactive sound sculptures and musical instruments made from waste will be placed throughout the gallery providing a sonic backdrop for the space.

Featuring works by Boris Bally (borisbally.com), Lea Bogdan, Ken Butler, Peggy Diggs, Joy Halsted, Nikolai Moderbacher (nikolaim.com), Cynthia Norton, John Parker (eyekhan.com), Sarah Hollis Perry, Philadelphia Dumpster Divers Neil Benson and Steve Thompson, Alyce Santoro (alycesantoro.com), SCRAPILE (bettencourtwood.com), Colleen Smiley, Meghan Trainor, Crispin Webb (crispinwebb.com), Peter Whitehead (healthyarts.com), Isac Zal (isaczal.com), and more.

[Just a few thoughts, based on surfing around some of the websites: working with landfill material is tricky; it can be politically edgy but it can also get bogged down in the sentimentality of "old stuff." There are a million undistinguished artists all over the world making assemblage type works with discarded junk; what separates them from a Yayoi Kusama or a Robert Rauschenberg is a question curators should be asking. Sarah Hollis Perry, maker of the blue chair above, appears to have swallowed Kusama whole but the cheekiness of using Times bags--the discarded wrapper or "invisible brand" of the "intellectual paper"--makes the work seem up to date. (I say seem because I'm only looking at the jpeg.) Other participants in the show might be veering dangerously close to the sentimental school, and there appears to be at least one designer making a straight commercial product out of post-consumer materials. Nothing wrong with that as long as the curation takes these distinctions into account. Yeah, I know, no one asked me to criticize the show, I'm just covering my ass because I haven't seen it. --TM)

- tom moody 9-10-2004 7:46 am [link]