Waste Not, Want Not is a group exhibition themed around the interpretations and responses to the motivations, goals, realities, politics, and practices of recycling. Curated by Robyn Donohue with Alyson Baker and Marichris Ty, the exhibition addresses the creative transformation of the by-products of production and consumption.
By coincidence or not, many of the artworks poke fun at our cultural fetishism of materials and objects. Lars Fisk's Trashbags is a five-foot tall polished marble sculpture of – you guessed it – trash bags. Tony Feher's Lipstick Showing is a spray-painted PVC pipe duct-taped on an very tall existing utility pole. Julian Montague's Three Stray Shopping Car Situations makes an abandoned, stolen or re-utilized shopping cart something to be considered, accounted for, and possibly protected.
A few sculptures in Waste Not, Want Not will change over time, such as Rainy Lehrman's Labor By Product, which reintroduces the wasted byproduct of New York's woodshops into the environment in an undulating 32' long sculpture. Thin layers of various wood chips are compressed into a mold, water is added and the top layer is covered with sod. Leherman predicts that the grass will die quickly, and tiny little creatures will soon make the sculpture their home. Another TBD work is by Carole Frances Lung. Titled Walking & Weaving, it is currently a large empty loom standing off the main walkway of the park. A plaque states that the materials to be used are reclaimed lumber, concrete, an electrical conduit, nylon rope, weights, donated textiles and garments from inhabitants of New York City, and scavenged urban detritus from the garment district. Lung invites people to bring their own used garments and textiles to the park from now through June 1st, where a subsequent weaving performance will take place.
Whether celebrating the global trend toward "green" or critically examining the motives and results of a world-wide focus on sustainability, the works in the exhibition share a common practice of re-purposing wasted or cast-off resources. Noble yet practical.
*Images from Top, Left to Right: Jade Townsend and Michael Peterson, Bottom of the Bag (2008); Tony Feher, Lipstick Showing (2008); Lars Fisk, Trashbags (2008); Carole Frances Lung, Walking and Weaving (2008). All images courtesy the artists and Socrates Sculpture Park.