Clay’s Green Corner

Compadres of the continents, good day. The Corner has been quite the busy beaver recently but will always have time for her favorite blogging activity (yes, I said “blogging” activity. You can use your imagination to figure out my other favorite activities…… you have a vivid imagination. Let’s move on shall we).

Some of you may know that in Rochester, NY the main cultural art museum is a part of the University of Rochester. This is, of course very, very, very cool The Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) houses collections of classic and contemporary art as well as sponsoring major exhibits. An exhibit that recently completed its very successful 3 month run is Extreme Materials II. Extreme Materials is probably the most eclectic exhibit ever hosted by MAG. Artists from the US and other countries were invited to show their works that are comprised of everyday objects. From bars of soap, to breakfast cereal, to “litter” nothing is off-limits for Extreme Materials.

All well and good, right? This is a sustainability site so now we’re getting all artsy. Is the Green Corner running out of ideas? Never!!!!! The artists that exhibited at Extreme Materials II used objects that people discard with and without regard to our environment. The fact these artists take our trash and create beauty is something that makes every UR member proud, not to mention the artists’ contribution to society through the beauty of art and reminding all of us how fragile our Big Blue Marble really is.

Here are just a few examples of what started as items to be used and tossed, instead turned to beautiful, inspiring and disturbing works of art: one artist recreated a Byzantine mosaic of a saint by using breakfast cereal. Another created a 1925 dress designed by Coco Chanel made entirely of condoms ( no, not used. They didn’t pass the quality assurance tests of the company and the artist asked for those instead of being discarded). One artist created a portrait made from packing tape. It’s beautiful.  Another used thousands of bars of Neutrogena soap and constructed an amazing wall that shimmers in translucent orange colors. One artist from New York City collected litter from his streets and created a 3-D design of a wave. Another took plastic water bottles found in the sea and made them into mobiles. And in merging art with commerce an artist has stitched together heavy duty plastic bags from retail establishments and designed, purses and tote bags. This artist’s particular work can be purchased at the MAG gift shop and are selling like hotcakes (ask your parents).

Alas, Extreme Materials has packed up and we do so hope for Extreme III in the near future. In the meantime, here is the catalog from the show. See first hand how wonderful, real and usable art can be. It’s great to be in Rochester and realize that we are not home to another stuffy “art” museum. Hats off to MAG staff and the artists who worked so hard to bring this wonderful show to western NY.

As winter slowly melts to spring we’ll be discussing other MAG events and when thousands come to visit how we handle the trash left behind. It’s a great story of planning, diligence, and truly being stewards of this terrific planet.


31 Replies to “Clay’s Green Corner”

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