Apr 25, 2006

Cool art: bags and books

Here's a cool Japanese bag that's re-usable and a neat-looking piece of art. Hmmm ... I should find instructions on how to make those things. ;)

And hey, if you need something to fill your Furoshiki with, how about some altered art? At the bottom of this news summary, this blurb appears:

The NYT reports on an innovative way the Portland Public Library in Maine has decided to recycle unwanted books. Rather than merely throwing them away, the library partnered up with the Maine College of Art and had artists create works of art from the discarded books. For example, one artist took a book titled Feeding the Brain and cut out the middle and filled it with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Almost all the 186 alteredbooks can now be checked out from the library.

Which almost no artist I've talked to has been really enthused about ... unless you count me as an artist and give me points for talking to myself. ;) But I'm sort of street-art, I love the idea of recycling "throwaway" books this way, and I love the idea of bringing altered art for free to anyone who wants to enjoy it, and this feels like one big, completely free mail art event on a grander scale. (Plus, hey, it helps make people aware that old "trash" can be made into beautiful, enjoyable things, and that's super.) Some people fear their art might be damaged by use if lent out, but personally, I'd rather have my art used and shared and experienced, and risk whatever happenstance damage might come its way, than "protect" my art and restrict it only to other altered artists and the few people I could potentially reach with my smallish "real life" social circle. IMO, those who visit the library are more likely to understand and respect altered art than random yahoos at a football game, for instance, or even than the husbands and boyfriends of many of the altered artists I know ... ;) And after all, who's going to check art out except people who are interested in art, to begin with? That's a potential altered artist right there, and if I have to pay the "price" of letting my art go out into the world and risk "damage" (which I like to think of as natural wear and tear, since I like my altered art to be tactile and touched anyway), then I'd be happy to. After all, it's not like I can't protect the art I want to protect, and choose which pieces are sturdy enough to be carried home in someone's bag. And also after all, well, it's art. It's for sharing. And it was made from pieces of paper and glue and old buttons and the ideas in my heart and head. I'll make more! If I were determined to protect my art, I wouldn't be a mail artist at all...

...but I am sort of wishy-washy street-artish. I'd much rather lend my art from the library (who will keep track of it!) than leave it out in the Florida sun and rain and wind, too. ;)
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