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'Upcycling': Signs of new life at Architecture and Design Museum

May 17, 2009 |  2:00 pm

Upcycling The new Architecture and Design Museum on Wilshire Boulevard across from LACMA won’t be completed until fall, but already it’s being recycled to accommodate a new exhibition. “Upcycling: Recuperating Past Lives” would seem to be an appropriate show, considering that it promises a fresh spin on using reclaimed, reformed and rehabilitated materials in art and design projects while occupying a space still under construction.

“The raw visual of the space fit the recuperating theme of the exhibit,” says museum Director Tibbie Dunbar. On display are 19 installation-based, three-dimensional pieces created by 17 artists and designers from the U.S., Canada, England and Brazil.

“These artists bring a variety of approaches, taking lowly materials and converting them into something new and aesthetic,” says Marieke Treilhard, director and curator of Toronto’s Tatar Gallery, which is presenting the exhibition in conjunction with A+D.

UpcyclingP4 For example, Brazilian designers Fernando and Humberto Campana created a simple yet quirky solution for a common dilemma faced by many parents:  the disposal of once-loved-but-no-longer-played-with stuffed animals. Instead of tossing them in a Dumpster, they created a banquette chair out of plush panda bears. In a similar vein, L.A. architect Greg Lynn took tossed-out children’s toys and turned them into furniture.

The majority of the pieces are fairly large and are suspended from the ceiling or are floor and wall installations. British artist Susie MacMurray’s wall installation “Oracle,” measuring 110 inches long, is made entirely from industrial dairy hose that would have otherwise been disposed of, while Virginia-based Sonya Clark’s long, abstract sculpture “Wavy Strand” is formed from plastic hair combs.

Joe Davidson’s “Apples” is crafted from paper pulp made from old credit card statements and junk mail. “I found 12 years of bills in storage and started to shred them and blend it with water, turning them into apples,” said Davidson. “I suppose you could say they are symbolic of the tree of knowledge.”

-- Liesl Bradner

Architecture and Design Museum
, 6032 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Ends Saturday. (323) 932-9393.

Top: Fernando and Humberto Campana's "Banquete Panda Chair"; bottom: one of Joe Davidson's "Apples." Credit: Moss NYC / Tatar Gallery Inc.

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