Waste Not, Want Not

This past Sunday, marked the opening of Socrates Sculpture Garden’s Summer Exhibit, Waste Not, Want Not. Some of you may remember this exhibit as the one MSLK’s proposed installation 2,663 Urban Tumbleweeds was rejected from. No hard feelings, but we simply had to go over and see what was selected.According to the application, the theme of the show is:

… interpretations and responses to the motivation, goals, realities, politics, and practices of recycling…encompassing many perspectives about the concepts of… adaptive re-use, and will include projects that address the creative transformation of the by-products of production and consumption… works will share a common theme of re-purposing.

You get the idea.So I could make this post a bitter one about the low level, bad art we saw, which was at times very similar to the “Unmonumental” show at the New Museum, but it was and overall lovely afternoon, so I’ll start with the highlights.First of all, the slice of “earth” above, was just amazing. Sadly I spent more time admiring it and chatting with the artist than I did writing down her name or the title of the piece, however, it is made purely from shop sawdust and water. The artist is a woodworker and this is her first time doing a piece like this outdoors so it will be amazing to see how the structure transforms and bio-degrades over the summer.Secondly, it was truly a beautiful spring day and everyone was enjoying the park, the blossoms, and the great weather.There was even a silent performance called “Albedo Pilgrams Make a Landing” by the Canary Project, which is a group dedicated to helping you visualize the effects of global warming. I suggest checking out their site, because they are behind some great stuff. For this performance they re-purposed white button down shirts from previous installations, “Albedo Clouds on Little West 12th” and “Albedo Cloud on the East River” from City Sol.The Albedo Pilrams travel all around the city looking fabulous in all white to encourage you to increase your albedo. Albedo is a measure of the Earth’s reflectivity and the more reflective, the more the planet stays cool. In short, they encourage you to wear more white to feel cooler and make a statement about our dwindling ice caps, etc.Interestingly, after the performance they left one of their ropes wrapped in the same tree that we used for our mock-up of “Tumbleweeds”.Yes, there was a lot of great art, including this piece, by Courtney Smith, cleverly entitled, “Indoor Out”. Mimicking a patchwork quilt, these colorful pieces of wooden interior doors were set directly into the ground and became part of the landscape itself.So then I’m not sure why I have to ask these sort of things but then why do we have to go here…to another work of art, with no clever title, and no real redeeming skill exhibited, and no real compelling eco-story. Sadly, this is type of art I was expecting to find at the opening today and trust me it was there… This piece was not even the most outlandish of the examples I could give, but from an art historical perspective I’m sure we can draw many similarities between this piece and the one above, so I’ll use it is as my compare and contrast. This piece is entitled “October Floor”, it is made of linoleum nailed into the ground, and well, I just don’t see anything in it. Do you?