Thursday, April 3, 2008

Plastic Problems: Open Space Turns to Totes

Beginning April 12th, our gallery will present TOTE / BAG, its first annual benefit show. Receiving contributions from a wide variety of artists, this event promises to reexamine our assumptions about art, production, and consumption. Broadly, it is a response to the general excesses of consumer society. Yet here we focus our target on a single and deceivingly innocuous counterpart: our daily use of bags. In this way the TOTE / BAG show acts in the realm of everyday life, bringing our most common and perhaps mundane activities to the forefront. Rather than simply highlighting the issue, the show proposes an active and ecologically conscious response: artists plan to supplant these problems with a kind of production that is steeped in the DIY ethic. At the same time it manages to return creative invention to the otherwise nefarious realm of sales. The proceeds from the sales of the show will go to the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a New York based organization committed to environmental advocacy and education.

Against the repetitions of mechanical production, a process that has left a tangle of homogeneous plastic in its path, our gallery will present a selection of colorful handmade tote bags. At first glance it may seem to be a rather obvious critique of the clutter and residue of consumerism. However, in observing the quality and personality with which these artists disrupt such a wasteful process, the show offers much more in the way of positive response. In addition to serving as commentary on the nature of consumerist society, we posit the suggestion that our system of production can be inflected with color and creativity. In this way the TOTE / BAG show separates itself from the cynical tradition of commodity-based art. While artists in the past such as Koons or Steinbach had worked to harness the idea of art-commodity to a kind of resignation or complacency with capitalism, the artists to be featured prove to reclaim the tools of production with a refreshing sense of optimism.

In organizing this ecologically conscious event, we have grounded our vision locally by linking up with Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. The efforts of the latter have been immense in protecting and preserving the Hudson River, its tributaries and related water bodies. They also played an active role in familiar local issues, such as the Manhattan west side water front, Indian Point nuclear reactors, and the New York/ New Jersey Harbor dredge spoil disposal. Reaching thousands through environmental action programs, educational opportunities, and public exhibits, their presence in the Hudson Valley has had an undeniable impact on the ecosystem.


Anonymous Jef AĆ©rosol said...

Hi friends ! Did the opening go well ? Can't wait to see pics of the show !

April 15, 2008 at 3:09 AM  

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