“Patch Happy” lead by Sewing Rebellion NYC
Fixing Session lead by Fixers Collective NYC
Social Sculpture lead by Kristyna & Marek Milde
Bike Repair Workshop lead by Eric Clausen of Drawing America By Bike
Two pieces of press this week for The Life Instinct:
Art As Instinct: In Conversation With Anne Percoco — An interview with Vanessa Saraceno
In her latest project Life Instinct, currently on view at Nurture Art, Anne Percoco created a makeshift shelter, combining creative resourcefulness with the playful improvisation of a child’s fort. This hut is made with materials — both synthetic and natural — Percoco found on the streets of New York. In this project, the hut and all of its joyful grace act as the visualization of a positive creativity that favors resourcefulness and self-sufficiency. Celebrating at the same time makeshift solutions with a survival instinct, this exhibition draws attention to a re-consideration of the values and functions for every object. In saving all these objects once categorized as refuse and bringing them to a new life, repairing becomes a creative act.”
The Life Instinct, at Brooklyn’s NUTUREart gallery. The show, which opened in late April and will run until May 29th, is a solo exhibit of work that, in the words of the studio, celebrates “makeshift solutions, survival instincts, and the reuse of discarded material.” This apt description, while applicable to the entirety of her show, resonates strongest with Percoco’s largest sculpture on display: a hut consisting of the empty frame of an old television set, venetian blinds as part of a roof, twigs and twine, ropes and styrofoam, and that can be entered and sat in. It is too pertinent not to refer back to Koolhaas when he writes, “the built… product of modernization is not modern architecture but Junkspace.”
This is the debris left from my installation of The Life Instinct. People kept mistaking it for a sculpture! So when Marco suggested I go with it, it made perfect sense. After its transition from non-art to art status, people kept mistaking the it for trash, and a few people tried to clean it up. Love that ambiguity.
It also reminds me of this passage by Rebecca Solnit, from her essay Dirt. She discusses a letter-to-the-editor in her local paper addressing a bronze sculpture:
The letter pointed out that the ratio of disturbed earth to extracted copper is 364 to 1 and that therefore, somewhere out of sight, a considerable pile of tailings exists in conjunction with the sculpture. I am fascinated by this way of looking; by the implication that the meaning of the visible sculpture should incorporate that unseen heap…”
It is really hard for me to mentally separate an art object, the process of its making, and its by-products.
Head nod to ILSSA’s recent show at Saint Mary’s College. They asked their members to save the waste products of their art practice for a whole year, and then displayed that material:
The installation consists of scavenged chairs, refurbished and sanitized, with commemorative plaques fastened to their backs, plus a map of where they were found, all in various locations in NYC.
This project has it all: love of trash a la Slavoj Zizek, material memory, exaltation of humble objects.
This relational aesthetics-genre piece not only activates relationships and conversations among gallery visitors who lounge on the chairs. It encompasses the whole web of relationships around their provenance: where the chairs were originally purchased, who bought them, the imagined event of their damage or the slow advance of rust or the going out of style, the decision to discard, and finally their placement on a curb in New York where the artists found them.
In a statement, the artists align their practice with a traditional hunter-gatherer way of life. Agnes Varda explores a similar concept in her movie “The Gleaners and I”, about modern scavengers of food and materials. Roger Ebert writes in his review:
In our alley we see men searching through the refuse for treasure. “The Gleaners and I” places them in an ancient tradition. Since 1554, when King Henry IV affirmed the right of gleaning, it has been a practice protected by the French constitution, and today the men and women who sift through the dumpsters and markets of Paris are the descendants of gleaners who were painted by Millet and Van Gogh.”
There’s something wonderful about finding use-value in castoffs. Finding artistic value in their re-use takes it a step further.