Art in the trash, near Medford, NJ

What To Do With Unwanted Art?

Today, the Caribbean is wrecked and parts of the United States are destroyed by major hurricanes. Lives are lost and devastated. Homes are blown away along with all the precious possessions they may contain—art included.

Also today, I am near Medford, NJ, and I have collected these two framed images from someone’s roadside trash.

That’s what happens sometimes, when someone’s relationship with an artwork is over: abandonment on the curb.

The art, once special, is now resigned to a category designated for dead batteries, apple cores, used disposable plastic bags, toenail clippings, broken glass, used sanitary items, leftover animal flesh and bones, etc.

Once good enough to hang proudly on the wall as if to bring joy and beauty into a home, and now bad enough to lay haphazardly in the hot sun amid a decomposing pile of who-knows-what.

This art once made the world more tolerable, but it now adds to the problems we seemingly can not escape. The art waits for diesel-powered transportation to a landfill where it will take all the time available to disintegrate with all the other garbage over the millennia to come.

The art never changed, but maybe the owner did, I wonder.

I might have been more drawn to the idea of a finished presentation of art than the art itself, so I can repurpose that presentation. Admittedly, it’s a little exciting to see what there is to find.

It’s hard not to think of following a course like those amusing images you might see where people take unwanted art and paint other things going on in the picture. Like a giant monster walking in front of a sunset or painting in some UFOs over a mountain range for excitement. But no, that’s not something I want to do (or can do).

I want the frame, the glass, and the matte. I might replace the art inside. This could have something to do with the blank white wall outside my room.

As you can see, I’m falling short of my updated mission, and even undermining it.

– T