Our culture is obsessed with stuff. We are obsessed with having things and more of them. This exhibition focuses on consumerism and how it is imbedded in our society. It examines how many artists use consumer objects as inspiration.
Most artists view and portray consumerism negatively, seeing it as a block to human interaction, as well as human and nature interaction. People get wrapped up in "stuff" and lose focus on each other and break contact with the natural world. These artists use their work as collections and displays of the worthlessness of manufactured objects. They scour the cities in which they live and gather discarded items -- pieces that once had value, but that have quickly become nothing more than garbage. The content here ranges from old chairs to moldy toys to rusted car parts, objects once prized and horded that are now thrown away. Not only are these artists illuminating the faults in a consumer society, but they are also challenging it by using these found objects rather than buying more supplies. They create and challenge the concept of art with what is very readily available, garbage.
However, there are a few artists who depict consumerism positively, by showing the beauty in the little aspects of everyday life. These artists believe that art can be found in the everyday. They work with found objects not to display waste, but to point out that beauty can be found in simplicity. They take what has been thrown to the streets as garbage and turn it into art. These artists are changing convention and, in a way, also highlighting the waste that occurs in our culture. By taking something that was once meant to be trash and repurposing it, they show how everyday objects can be reused instead of just being thrown out. Some of these artists do so by modification of the original form, while others change an object’s meaning and impact by putting it in an artistic context, drawing attention to the beauty of the everyday. This exhibition includes both views of consumerism. It juxtaposes the different viewpoints, giving the viewer the opportunity to see consumerism in both a positive and negative light. Hopefully, this exhibition experience will challenge the audience to reconsider their own views on consumerism, excess, waste, and simplicity and give them a new appreciation for these aspects of life.