Dumpster divers on the high art seas


Photo via New York Magazine

As you may have heard, a crew of 30 artists, gearheads and dumpster divers from Brooklyn rolled up to the Venice Biennial in a fleet of vessels made of New York City trash. They built the boats to resemble one the street artist Swoon saw in a dream.

While I have mixed feelings about the often self-congratulatory artistic happenings that come out of North Brooklyn and the street art scene in general, I can appreciate that my skepticism is both a bit knee-jerk and shared by the practictioners themselves. For example, I first learned about Swoon when I heard her speak on a panel on street art where divirsity came up a lot (in that self-conscious way it tends to in academic settings referencing hip hop culture), as did the fact that the mostly white street art scene (born of art schools) benefits from the same badass caché now afforded to grafitti (born of the ghetto) while the “risks” taken by the “outlaw” artists of today’s movement don’t match those taken by the bombers of the 80’s. Not by the farthest stretch of the imagination. Case in point: you’ll notice the NY Mag article uses Swoon’s real name repeatedly. Let’s see if she gets arrested for vandilism.

That said, potential jail time isn’t a prerequisite I use when judging art I like. And I truly enjoy the wheatpaste prints Swoon puts up around town. Sometimes, art is just pretty and fun. Bonus points for using trash.

“The culture of eating and building out of Dumpsters is not an endpoint, not what any of us wants to be doing,” Swoon says. “It’s about living off a bad culture that we wish didn’t exist and making the resources that contribute to that situation no longer available to you.”

For more on Swoon, I recommend searching the lovely and amazing clearinghouse, Wooster Collective. That’s how I found this Walrus TV video.

Hey, Victor, note that they may take these trash ships to the Copenhagen climate change meeting. Now that might spice things up!

Can’t get enough? More photos are over at PSFK.

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17 Responses to “Dumpster divers on the high art seas”

  1. Victor Bernhardtz Says:

    Well, that’s all the more reasons for one to go, isn’t it! Side-panel-sattelite-event here I come!

  2. Swimming Cities Ocean of Blood « everydaytrash Says:

    […] Swimming Cities, the trash boat crew street artist Swoon led to the Venice Biennial a while back, has a new waterway in their sights: the Ganges. An overview of the project and appeal […]

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