Friday, January 18, 2008

Art From Migrant’s Trash

I enjoyed this article from the first page of yesterday's Wall Street Journal.

Article title: Desert Castaways Get Second Life In Art Exhibition
Ms. James Finds Material In Items Left by Immigrants;
Cactus Needles in a Mitten

Published in: The Wall Street Journal
Date: January 17, 2008; Page A1

Artist Valerie James collects interesting (to her) trash left behind by migrant workers. She has two exhibits. One is a display in a building she owns. The other one consists of assemblages in an art exhibit in Tucson Arizona isn’t doing so well:

“Many people react strongly -- and not all positively -- to the assemblage of "junk" art. Gallery owner Randy Ford says the exhibit hasn't been as well attended as he had expected. He believes area residents are tired of the immigration issue.”

My reaction to that is that I think the show would be of more interest in places not near the border. I think the show would be of interest in New York City, for example. I would attend this exhibit if it were near me.

I am interested in trying to construct the story behind some of the left behind items. That is just how my mind works.

And I really like the idea of making art from trash. In my own art explorations I have challenged myself to do things such as use only junk mail or recycled items in order to try to give new life and meaning to something that was destined for the trash or for the recycling bin.


Karen said...

"He believes area residents are tired of the immigration issue.”

Sorry. Have to disagree. As a resident of a border state, I would say that we are not tired of the immigration issue. Rather, we are tired of illegal immigrants, their trash, and especially of the media's repeated attempts to romanticize them.

Additionally, I would say that trash as art engenders the same kinds of feelings in people as other kinds of modern art. People look at it and think "my 3rd grader could do better than that!"

christinemm said...

I like the idea of trying to tell a story from the trash left behind.

The visuals of the gloves with the cactus tell a story.

That is what I like about this idea of making art from the trash.

In my area the biggest cause of litter is the recycling bins. Household trash is blown out of the bins into the neighborhood and woods. It is odd to see litter of things like bleach bottles and olive oil bottles. That is not trash chucked out of a moving car's window.

Until I read this article I didn't know there was an issue with litter from migrants. It sounds like a huge problem.

The fact that a man taking a walk can collect 40 lbs. of trash in just one walk is unbelievable. Crazy. A shame.