One person’s trash is another person’s treasure – redefined

A few weeks ago I went to check out the Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Design(MAD). The exhibit is the first for the MAD museum which opened in September 2008 and features both established and emerging artists from all around the world.

The artists created installations and works of art out of everyday-manufactured items – think shoes, magazine pages, reading glasses, records, album covers, shopping bags to name a few.  

I must admit I went in uncertain about what to expect since I tend to enjoy the more traditional forms of art, say Monet’s Sunrise. I came out very impressed. There is something to be said for understanding the banality of the objects being used. On some level, you feel as though you can relate to the art because you are familiar with all of the objects.

The diversity of the artists was truly a fascinating feature of the exhibit because it gives the impression that you are getting a glimpse of culture from the far reaches of the globe.

The highlight is Paul Villinski’s “Transformative Destruction” where old records are cut out into butterfly shapes fluttering out of a record player.

The work by Nigerian artist, Nnenna Okore, was also captivating. She actually designs functional lamps out of different color paper. To her “necessity often inspired the improvisation that transforms discarded materials into useful tools and accessories.”

The Japanese artist, Yuken Teruya, makes unbelievable cut outs from the side of disposable paper bags. Let’s just say you really need to see it to believe it. He remarks that “mostly humble and commonplace objects may reflect industry and cultural values that are across geography, economy and political boundaries.” 

While I’ve only listed 3 of the artists, I really could go on and on because so many artists are truly worthy of mention: Cornelia Parker, Stuart Haygarth, Al Anatsui, and Ai Weiwei.

These works are a great example of how something recycled can have the appearance of something fresh and unique.

So the next time you go to throw something away, think of what piece of art could come out of it.  Even if you don’t end up doing anything with it, it’s interesting to know that the possibilities are endless.

Check it out: The exhibit goes until April 19, 2009

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