dear plastic, don’t imitate anything…

{Robert Fontenot}

I came across Robert Fontenot’s Recycle LACMA project through the superb weatherspoon and am, again, contemplating the art-version of reduce/reuse/recycle.  In projects like the one pictured below, and in the one we just finished for the Madison Park Window Project, Zack and I have used handmade quilts that we found at the Goodwill “bins”– the last stop for clothing and other donated objects before the landfill, as far as I understand it.  Even though we know we are using them one last (?) time, it’s still difficult to take the scissors to these wonders of antique fabric in resplendently awkward color combinations, knowing that there was a set of hands at the other end, and a set of eyes, that would likely balk at the severity of its reuse.  So it is with the LACMA project.  Artist Robert Fontenot bought up a slew of Los Angeles Museum County of Art’s castoffs from their textile and costume department, and is carefully working to reuse these gems that hail from every corner of the earth only to end up in a cultural recycling bin.  Some of the ways that Fontenot is reusing them bring delight and satisfaction (some of my favorites: boxing gloves, wastebasket, bathroom awning), while some are more painful, depending on the beauty of the original object or the silliness of the new one.  But the project is a great idea, and allows viewers to think about the way that we feel certain objects are more sacred than others because of their hand-crafted originality, their beauty, their rarity, their exotic appeal.  It keeps us thinking about trash, about limits, about time folding in on itself, the ubiquity of fabric, the often artless art that we wear compared to the garb of other times and places…

{Zack and Gala Bent: Overprotective Home}

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