In Regard To…

Alyce Santoro, “Joseph Beuys Inspired Sonic Fabric Fedoras”
Alyce Santoro, “Joseph Beuys Inspired Sonic Fabric Fedoras”

Differentiating a new style of trash-art from its masterworks may seem like a waste, but it’s clear the generation of artists included in Re:Purposed are expanding on what Marcel Duchamp and Robert Rauschenberg pioneered. Readymades and assemblages have become relics of society’s upper-most classes, but this art represents more inclusive views. It’s different in that, instead of presenting collections of disparate elements like an assemblage, or abstractly subverting a self-evident meaning like a readymade, these works directly confront the systems which make repurposing possible by transforming elemental parts in to a homogenous whole.

Repurposing is a concept of income inequality that requires a wasteful class discarding materials later used by one too desperate and impoverished to purchase them. Like the art, the exhibition’s ambiguous title sets the stage for conversations surrounding what can be done about such inequality because it’s presented in the manner of an on-going digital correspondence. In this way, the title perfectly reflects both the materials these artists employ and themes they convey.

The artist in this exhibition who most overtly offers an answer to income inequality is Jill Sigman, who builds domiciles, which she calls “huts,” out of objects whose initial purposes were obviously not for construction. Microwaves, lawn flamingoes, trash bags, and, particular to this exhibition at The Ringling, advertisements from the circus comprise the walls and ceilings of her “huts,” and provide shelter while she and viewers occupy them. A mixture of sculpture and performance, Sigman’s work explicates the hidden effect of over-consumption by immersing herself and viewers in an environment most of us assume is relegated to the poorest parts of the world.

Other artists in the exhibition emphasize homogeneity in order to discuss income inequality. Specifically, the works of Daniel Rozin and Alyce Santoro seamlessly merge seemingly disparate and unequal elements in transformative ways that completely blur the lines between what’s expansive and what’s cheap. Rozin’s “Trash Mirror No. 3” (2001 – 2011), uses sensors and cameras to flip small pieces of trash upward and downward to depict viewers’ bodies and faces. Viewers see themselves in surprising resolution, which catches the imagination because it’s almost unbelievable how plastic bottles and coffee cups can effectively supplant the latest DSLRs and camera-phones. Similarly, Alyce Santoro’s fashionable dresses, hats, and handbags made from the spooled magnetic tape found in audio cassettes are chic, gorgeous, and would assuredly be worn by the same people who purchase couture gowns. The magnetic tape is so astoundingly tightly interwoven that it looks like canvas or some kind of tarp, and in no way resembles something someone would throw away. Both artists employ materials arguably from the lowest and least needed segments of the economy in novel, nothing less than magical artworks that see their individual elements completely transformed.

Overall, Re:Purposed can be seen as a hopeful allegory for a more equal and evenly distributed economic future. The artists included in the exhibition have clearly found something new by exploring the idea of combining things we’ve bought and no longer need, and in the process, have made the best of a bad situation.

Gorgeois

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The weather in Sarasota is perfect for an evening of decadence. Wine, food, entertainment, gorgeous views of the bay and the Ca’ d’Zan — it’s enough to defy language. That’s why the proper word to describe last night is gorgeois, which is simply a combination of gorgeous and bourgeois. It’s a new addition to a lexicon that’s sometimes insufficient in describing life’s capacity for beauty.

Last night’s “Wine Walk to Ca’ d’Zan” was a celebration of Sarasota’s growing foodie scene, including dishes by Fête Catering and Ballroom, Nellie’s Catering, Traviso, and Michael’s on East, each paired with wines from all over the world.

Navigating the grounds with a plate of food and a glass of wine is exactly what John and Mable Ringling did, or at least what I imagine they did, while they lived there, and guests were able to trace the Ringlings’ steps. I even overheard that the entrance to the Ca’ d’Zan is the mansion’s original driveway.

In a way, the flood of regular people on the former property of aristocrats is perfectly gorgeois. It’s like a mini revolution against the one-percent who would have surely despised all these hooligans partying there and enjoying a lifestyle experienced only by the super-rich.

No guillotine, but there was an amazing sunset.

Everyone was speaking about which dishes were their favorites. Mine? The knockwurst was ridic, and the chicken tikka masala was delish, oh, and I really dug the seafood trio. I also had three cannolis.

Cannoi from Treviso
Cannoi from Treviso
Tandoori Shrimp, Chicken Tikka Masala, Pulav with Cashews, Peas, and Jeera from Michael's on East
Tandoori Shrimp, Chicken Tikka Masala, Pulav with Cashews, Peas, and Jeera from Michael’s on East
Mini Cupcake from The Cake Zone
Mini Cupcake from The Cake Zone
Croque Monsieur from Fête Catering and Ballroom
Croque Monsieur from Fête Catering and Ballroom
Seafood Trio Paella from Nellie's Catering
Seafood Trio Paella from Nellie’s Catering
Beer-Steamed Knockwurst with Sauerkraut and German Mustard, Braised Short Ribs Sauerbraten-Style, Braised Red Cabbage and Brown Butter Spaetzle from Fête Catering and Ballroom
Beer-Steamed Knockwurst with Sauerkraut and German Mustard, Braised Short Ribs Sauerbraten-Style, Braised Red Cabbage and Brown Butter Spaetzle from Fête Catering and Ballroom

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