Friday, March 6, 2015

"Re:Purposed" at The Ringling, Part 3 -- Fan Favorites

It's probably become apparent by now that I really enjoyed my media briefing about the "Re:Purposed" exhibit at The Ringling.  In fact, I liked the show so much that I've been back twice with friends in tow.

While the entire exhibit is interesting and engaging, two works stand out as favorites:  Daniel Rozin's "Trash Mirror" and Mac Premo's "The Dumpster Project."  Both works are interactive, which explains in part why they're so much fun.

Dorrit and Lindy check out "Trash Mirror"
"Trash Mirror' is comprised of four mechanical mirrors that have been covered with 500 pieces of trash -- from pieces of Greek diner coffee cups to Broadway ticket stubs to ID badges -- that Rozin collected on the streets of New York (and from his own pockets). That would be interesting in and of itself, but as you walk past the larger-than-life piece, it oscillates as if trying to get your attention.  (It was successful!)  When you stand close to the piece and shift or raise an arm, it responds to your movement.  When you stand across the room and move, you can see your reflection. It is wild.

In his former life, Rozin was an industrial product designer. Consequently, his interest in the visuals of wrappers and other packaging included in his piece comes naturally. So does his desire to compel the viewer to interact with his art (i.e., the product).  Rozin's intention in creating his mosaic was to show how order can be created on even the messiest of substances -- trash -- with a bit of help from a computer.  To watch "Trash Mirror" in action, click here.

Wendi in Rozin's "The Dumpster Project"
My personal favorite in the show is Premo's "The Dumpster Project." When Premo moved from one studio to another that was about 30% the size, not everything could make the cut. He came across a number of items that he couldn't bear to part with, though, like his daughter's first pair of shoes. He ended up cataloging these odds and ends (with an emphasis on odd!) and creating "the ultimate collage project" in a dumpster located on the Ringling's grounds.  Then he set up a website for the project that viewers can access while looking at the items.  (There is also an iPad set up in the dumpster for people who don't have a smart phone.)

It is great fun to spend time in the Dumpster. Why, you might wonder, did he have an "ABC Book about Jesus?"  It turns out he picked up the book at a flea market on 6th Avenue because he was curious about what the "X" would be for.  His explanation goes on. "Xenophobic? Xerophytic? It turns out the 'X' is for the X-Ray of light from God's Blessed Son.  Which I guess explains all that cancer."

"Item 308: Detached doll parts are
always creepy. Always."  
Each time I've returned to the Dumpster Project, I've found more interesting and funny things to look at (aided by Premo's commentary).  And of course it made me think about all the weird things that have ended up in my drawers over the years.  The fact is, though, that these strange little things make up who we are.  Much like music, coming upon a remnant from your past brings you back to that time (sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a grimace).

My biggest concern about the Dumpster Project is that people who go to "Re:Purposed" either won't remember to seek it out or won't be able to find it. (The guards don't seem to know where it is.)  So here are directions:  When you come out of the main entrance to Searing Gallery, take a right and follow the path.  You will find the Dumpster around the corner almost hidden behind some trees. If you aren't able to make it to the Dumpster Project, you can check out the website by clicking here.

"Re:Purposed" runs through May 17th, so there's plenty of time to check it out for yourself if you're in the area.  Even if you're not a fan of modern art, I am confident that something will capture your interest if you go in with an open mind. The catalog for the show is terrific as well, with interviews by curator Matthew McLendon with each of the participating artists. GO SEE THIS SHOW! 

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