Time: 1985 - present

It's Only Art

In 1985, I walked by the windows of Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, where a washing machine had been placed, along with various parts of other appliances, solely for the purpose of artistic expression. Entitled "Savage Salvage," this brainchild of a wide-eyed student was supposed to be symbolizing something, most likely the soulless mechanization of humanity. To me, it was a tilted washing machine placed in a window. However I could understand how objects like this could come to represent something artistically. Recently, a man in Detroit decorated numerous abandoned inner-city homes and vacant lots with a myriad of objects, such as old tires, bottles and other discarded articles, and received a great deal of attention. Some people thought it was a massive eyesore and others fawned with praise. Obviously the same could be said for that washing machine. Now I'm not going to poke too much fun at works like this, as I have a page on this site dedicated to a woman who smears her naked body in chocolate while describing a sexual liaison with Jesse Helms. Some people (they know who they are) might not consider that art.

Since my initial foray into the purely subjective world of art, I, along with my friends Jim and Adrienne, have never let the opportunity pass to label something as "art." It's just so damn EASY. In our world, Rule Number One is: any type of appliance or machine placed in a unconventional setting, and tilted, immediately qualifies as art. And, over the years, we have come across a few situations where we have instantly appreciated the artistic value of the most mundane scenarios. The following pictures exemplify some of the inadvertent artworks we have stumbled upon over the years.

So I ask you, if Jeff Koons can fill a fish tank with water, float some ping pong balls in it and get it displayed in the Whitney Museum of American Art, why the hell can't I take a picture of an old vacuum cleaner tied to a tree and call it a masterpiece? Is it art? You decide...


The Vacuum Tree
I was recently on a trip back to New Jersey to visit family and friends when I came across this scene in New Brunswick. Don't ask me why anyone would take time out of their day to entangle an old vacuum in the branches of a tree. All I know is that it is most definitely art.

Ivy League Shopping Cart
Back in 1989, I was taking pictures around the Princeton University campus when I came across this abandoned shopping cart near the grave of a colonial philanthropist. Is this art? Of course!

Along Route 27 in Highland Park, New Jersey is a multi-use building which houses a dance studio and a store that sells water heaters. This combination by itself is really not that exciting. But when a sign entitled "Dance" floats above a store window filled with water heaters, without a doubt, it's art. I can't take credit for this picture, though. It was taken by my friend Adrienne sometime back in 1985 who stood in the middle of the highway late at night, just to get that perfect angle.

A Creature of Some Sort
I'm not sure what kind of creature this is (kind of looks like a kiwi...any other guesses?) but I think this is art. It was created by a friend during her junior high school years and was just recently discovered stashed away in the attic. It was going to be thrown out, but I could not let that happen. The shocking orange background and the needlepoint creature are at the same time cute and (dare I say it?) ugly. So once again, this means it is art.



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