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Trashy Art

Trash Can ArtI was asked recently if I had any dogs in my closet (as in not so good paintings). "Why, no, of course not," I replied. There isn't a closet in my studio, but my trash can is often full. Some are new attempts, and some just don't stand my test of time.

You've heard of spring cleaning: I go through the works in my studio once a year, and if they don't impress me, out they go. It could be that the image is weak, or the paint doesn't hold up as it once may have. I've never been a pack rat: tossing comes natually to me. Ya' betta' hold up or out you go!

I'm not alone. I know other artists who do the same, some much more brutal. How often have you been to a gallery or museum and thought, where's the dumpster? OK, maybe I'm alone here, but over time many paintings for one reason or another lose the luster of their youth, and botox won't help.

There was a show in art school that I helped to install. The exhibit included a Frank Stella painting, borrowed from a neighboring university collection. It was one of his shaped canvases from the early 70s and came to us off the stretcher and a little worse for wear (your endowment is too generous when you can treat Frank like that). We called it a "barroom Stella." OK, this one we would probably restore. However, I'm sure Mr. Stella has done some editing in his studio over time.

With one slight difference: his torn scraps would buy a nice house.


Diane Widler Wenzel said...

I chuckle with recognition. Maybe it is the phase of the moon and the time of the year. I am editing my collection with caution. I did a big cut in my work in 1977. First I took photographs and then tossed some every week for months. My photography bill back then was over $1000 worth every penny.

Mark Barry said...

parapluie, someitmes you just have to let it go..... it feels good.