I met artist Tony Do at a picnic this weekend where we discussed, at length, crunchy rice dishes from our respective cultures (yum and yum) and, briefly, garbage and art (though never garbage art). It wasn’t until emailing after the fact that I discovered Tony himself is a trash artist, as evidenced by this conceptual upcycling of Douglas Huebler‘s famous piece.
Here’s what Tony has to say for himself:
The first generation of conceptual artists like Huebler attempted to de-materialize the art object by displacing it into language. One of the most important consequences of this form of production was the disruption of the process of exchange by which art becomes a commodity, and therefore the process through which art constitutes cultural hegemony. However, for various reasons the displacement of objecthood could not be sustained, resulting in the reintegration of materiality and the transformation of conceptual art into “post conceptual” art. This is where we are today. My intervention into Huebler’s seminal piece is a critique of his desire for pure objectivity (I argue that his displacement of the object is made possible through the sacrifice of subjectivity), and at the same time is a recuperation of his critical method. Through a gesture that is basically a form of recycling, my version becomes a critique of all forms of garbage–both material and conceptual art and as well as non art.