June 10, 2015

Reuse, Recycle, Reimagine, Recologize, Re: Art

Recently I checked out a Recology Artist In Residence exhibition. I really don’t know what took me so long to go to one (there’s two a year) because they are great! I mean, I've been hip to the program for years but never got around going to one. Maybe  it had to do with the fact that I would have to drive to the outskirts of the of the city, and visit the "dump", to actually check it out. Put like that it doesn't sound very appealing, does it? but now I know it's totally worth it. The exhibition spaces are large, the artist's work is professional looking, the Recology workers host a BBQ, and there is a large section of free stuff for the taking (like books, chairs, desks, fabrics, golf clubs, ect.). I happily scored a large roll of cork-board and a polka-dotted belt.
In brief, Recology is a company that collects all of San Francisco’s trash, recyclables and compostables. In addition to keeping San Francisco (and other cities) clean and tidy, they also work to take care of our societies aesthetic needs by supporting artists to make art from the things people have thrown away. Recoclogy’s Artist In Residence program is wholly unique in that it fosters the creation of beautiful, thought provoking, and interesting art to enjoy, be inspired by, and help us imagine how we can live in a more sustainable world. In case you haven’t already figured it out, the caveat of this Artist In Residence program is  the artists  must make art from the waste (actually, resources) that Recology collects. The artists they attract are phenomenal, just take a look at their roster and you’ll see what I mean. 

The exhibition I saw on May 22nd featured Ma Li and Michael Arcega. May Li’s work was like an explosion of Chinese  firecrackers. She shredded plastic water bottles and hung them from the ceiling; they looked like bright little explosions. On the ground and walls was a celebration of bursting bright colors and abstracted multiples of things all about, some of the items even looked liked tubes of firecrackers. Michael  Arcega’s work was entirely different. His work was earthy, wry, and more like a meditation on natural history  His pieces were accompanied by absurd taxonomical names like, “Doespoopsticktoyourfur (Nacireman Shrine Charms)”. Mr. Arcega’s work suggested that materialism, manhood, and extinction were linked; and in my opinion this dovetailed nicely with Recology’s over-arching mission to move humankind into a new paradigm - a Waste Zero culture.   

If you want to get your fix of Recologized art then tomorrow night (Thursday, June 11th) the Thoreau Center for Sustainability will be hosting a 25th anniversary celebration of Recology's Artist In Residence program. It’s been titled Make Art Not Landfill and the exhibition will be up for viewing until September 10th.  See you there! Ciao.

Ma Li

Michael Arcega

Doespoopsticktoyourfur (Nacireman Shrine Charms)