Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary by the Museum of Arts and Design
Using the recycled object as source material can imbue another layer of implication to an artist’s work. When materials are revisited and transformed the content can be enhanced with a more potent reading. Terese Agnew used 30,000 clothing tags to create an image of a textile worker in Bangladesh. The face of Buddha is carved into stacks of NYC phone books and catalogues by Ling-Bin Chen, in this incarnation Buddha may watch over the West. Hairnets and violin bow hair fill all the open space in York St. Mary’s Cathedral, a space Susie MacMurray created a site-specific installation. Sonya Clark used combs whose teeth had been carefully plucked to create positive and negative space from which she made a 10 x 7 ft. portrait of Madame C.J. Walker, the mother of Black hairdressing. These artists offer a refreshing means of recycling, preserving and invigorating what might have simply been garbage.