Creative Reuse: From the Met to the classroom

"Narva" (1961) by Jean Tinguely. Steel bars, metal wheel, tubes, cast iron, wire, aluminium, string, electric motor 220 V. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Met’s Lila Acheson Wallace Wing is brimming with examples of creative reuse. Many of the materials Tinguely used to create Narva (image above) a work of kinetic art could be found in MFTA’s hardware section–see Narva in gallery 925. More creative reuse after the jump!

Detail of "Communists' E's" (1979) by Rick Horton. Cut, torn and pasted printed papers and graphite on cardboard. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Creative reuse enthusiasts cannot miss two special exhibitions at the Met. The first is Paper Trails: Selected Works from the Collection, 1934-2001 in the Wallace Wing’s mezzanine gallery. With the exhibition’s title cribbed from the 2008 album of ‘the tenth hottest MC in the game’ how can you go wrong? You can’t. The exhibition features 36 works on paper by 24 artists, including Duchamp and Kara Walker.

"Untitled" (ca. 1950-52) by Franz Kline. Ink on cut and pasted papers. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 

I don’t necessarily associate Kline with an intimate scale or with works on paper–although a quick search online yielded tons of results, many are ‘not on view’ as works on paper will often be–anyway… His signature gestures come through even from across the room in Untitled (ca. 1950-52) (above) and Untitled (1956).

This lovely bag, by the even lovelier artist Ymari Marchan, reminded me of Kara Walker. It is made entirely from warehouse materials and will be for sale at this year

Kara Walker is known for her “room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes” and the Met show features a typically enigmatic but certainly not room-size work of hers, Untitled (Girl and Horse) (1996). I can’t find an image of this online so you’ll have to stop by the Met and see the show for yourself. MFTA recipients can come grab up the last of our black card stock and envelope packs and try to create versions of Walker’s work themselves–Ymari’s project boards in the warehouse are good jumping off points.

The second exhibition you must see is Romare Bearden’s The Block (1971), a work on six Masonite panels (18-feet total!) depicting a block of Lenox Avenue in Harlem. I have one small detail from The Block here–every glance is equally wonderful.

Detail of "The Block" (1971) by Romare Bearden. Cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, graphite, ink marker, gouache, watercolor, and ink on Masonite. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Teachers: Has the reuse light not turned on in your classroom? As you can see here, reuse art is beautiful–and (ssh!) economical. You might wonder how reuse and art will fit into your teaching if you’re, say a math teacher–not to worry: Tomorrow’s the last chance to sign up for our fall P credit course, “Creative Infusion: The Art of Reuse” which shows teachers of all subjects how to link their lessons and art-making with a focus on the Common Core Standards.

Paper Trails is on view in the Mezzanine Gallery, Lila Acheson Wallace Wing, through November 27, 2011.

The Block is on view in the gallery between the Michael C. Rockefeller and Lila Acheson Wallace Wings through January 8, 2012.

Both shows are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, at East 82nd Street, New York, NY.

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