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Recycling Rag, eco-artware's newsletter

Fall 2001

In This Issue:


TRANSCENDING TRASH: Finding Found Art in Museums

Museums typically show works made from traditional materials using techniques formally taught in art schools or in studios. But now museums are presenting works in more diverse media. These exhibits showcase the work of a growing number of artists who reuse materials, creating art from cast-offs. Here are some of these artists whose non-traditional work is exhibited in museums.

Boris Bally: Working with Metals--Precious and "Worthless"

Boris Bally is a trained metal smith who uses materials from scrap yards and thrift stores, as well as precious metals to create jewelry, furniture and household utensils, "While it takes great skill to make gold and silver into beautiful things, transforming trash into something beautiful is the ultimate challenge because it takes more skill and imagination to do it," Bally said.

Artistic recycling is a Bally family tradition (both parents are designers). When Bally was young, his family scoured thrift stores and scrap yards for metal and other art supplies. Boris' father, who used traffic signs in his design work, stashed several in the house. Boris idly "began banging away" on one, and immediately appreciated the metal's quality and color patterns. Since then he has turned traffic signs into chairs, tables, jewelry and bowls, to the delight of the public and the Department of Transportation. Boris Bally's work is included in many permanent collections including the Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the American Crafts Museum in New York City, the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. See more of his work at http://www.borisbally.com

Bobby Hansson: Creating Art from Cans and Other Cast-offs

Since 1955, Bobby Hansson, a noted craftsman and crafts photographer, has developed sculpture, furniture and musical instruments from found materials. Hansson initially used cast-offs because they were free. But soon he discovered a unique ability to look at an object and see something else in it. His particular talent for transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary is displayed in his popular book, The Fine Art of the Tin Can.

The book shows incredibly varied objects made from tin cans (aluminum not allowed) by Hansson and 90 other experienced artists. Hansson wrote, "I'm very serious about art and craft, but I believe there's room in life--and in arts and crafts--for fantasy, humor and even silliness." His work has been shown at many museums including The American Craft Museum in New York City, the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC., and the Oakland,Ca. Museum.

Leo Sewell: Assembling Sculpture from Scrounged Materials

Leo Sewell, a Philadelphia-based artist, grew up near a dump and played with the man-made objects he found there. He pulled them apart for fun until his parents suggested that he try putting them together. He's been doing just that for over 40 years. Sewell creates highly decorated sculptures composed of cast-offs, assembled with nails, bolts and screws; both the frame and surface of each sculpture is made from found materials. He has a large workshop holding scrounged materials--100,000 discarded objects organized in 2,000 categories e.g., gold-coated sharks teeth, corn holders, Fisher-Price people). Sewell has a M.A. in art history but decided to jump over the counter and create art. Self taught, he believes that, "Chance is the greatest creative force that can happen." His sculptures are found in more than 40 museums worldwide including the American Visionary Art Museum, in Baltimore, the Philadelphia Children's Museums as well as in several of Ripley's Believe It or Not Museums throughout the country. Three large pieces were recently installed in the Atlanta Airport. To see more of his work, visit: http://www.leo.sewell.net

Where To See Art Using Recycled Materials

American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM)
800 Key Highway Baltimore, Maryland.
Phone: 410.244.1900
The Art of War and Peace, October 6, 2001-September 1, 2002.
250 works by 65 self-taught artists, dealing with the struggle between the power of good and the power of evil in one's own heart and soul.

The Noyes Museum
Lily Lake Road
Oceanville, New Jersey 08231
Phone: 609.652.8848

ReCreation/Recreation: The Fine Art of the Tin Can, January 12 - April 28, 2002.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center
1000 Richmond Terrce
Staten Island, New York 10801-1199
Phone: 718.448.2500

Fresh Kills: Artists Respond to the Closure of the Staten Island Landfill, October 14, 2001-January 13, 2002. A multi-discipline exhibition by 19 artists commenting on issues relating to trash: consumption and identity, environmental impact and the benefits of by products--to name a few. (Please note: Fresh Kills, allegedly the largest landfill on Earth, was closed March 22, 2001, only to be reopened on September 13 to receive the wreckage of the World Trade Towers.)

Ames Gallery Specializing in Contemporary Naive-Visionary 18th-20th Century Folk Art
2661 Cedar
Berkeley, California 94708
Phone: 510.845.4949
Ongoing collection contains objects using found materials.

Richard Stockton College Gallery
P.O. Box 195
Pomona, New Jersey 08240-0195
Phone: 609.652.4214

Artists and the Environment, November 8-November 29, 2001.

If you know of others, please let us know. info@Eco-Artware.com

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