Happy Earth Day!

It feels right that today of all days is an artist’s last chance to enter Eye of the Beholder, MFA’s found-object exhibition.

Found object art has never been particularly mainstream. In fact, I bet you can’t name too many found object artists, but you might recognize this work:

Fountain 1917, replica 1964 Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968 Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1999 (porcelain floor urinal with  a fake artists name and year written on the its base in black paint)
Fountain 1917, replica 1964 Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968 Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1999

This is a piece by Marcel Duchamp, a modernist who displayed wild works of cubism and futurism all over the world, as well as “readymades” which he became the most famous for. Fountain was a piece he submitted to a New York exhibition in 1917, which was simply a urinal he found.

This piece is relatively simple compared with some of the more complex work you can see below, but it began to popularize art made from prefabricated objects.

The craft of found object art is often hard to interpret by the uninitiated. Some see it only as weird, grungy artists digging through their neighbor’s trash, however, the art of creating found-object pieces is an intimate process the says much about the artist.

Duchamp used his “readymades” as part of a private and symbolic language. Many artists, such as MFA Member Linda Popp, feel the same. There’s a story to tell that can’t be done through words, brush strokes, or any other medium – not to mention that found object work often takes pieces of mundane trash and transform them into treasure. I mean there had to be an Earth Day spin on this. I didn’t want to just show you a urinal.

Take a look at some found object pieces from Eye of the Beholder 2019 to get yourself inspired! Eye of the Beholder 2021 will be on display at Circle Gallery June 24th – July 24th, and check out the interview MFA did with found object master Linda Popp earlier this year.

"See The Beauty When There's Nothing There," found object assemblage sculpture, by MFA Member Linda Popp
See The Beauty When There’s Nothing There,” found object assemblage sculpture, by MFA Member Linda Popp
"Lonesome Land," neon, vintage doll, flag holder, sheet music, navigation map, vintage frame, by Eve Hoyt
Lonesome Land,” neon, vintage doll, flag holder, sheet music, navigation map, vintage frame, by Eve Hoyt
"summer tales of caution and danger," found object assemblage, by Gwen Waight
summer tales of caution and danger,” found object assemblage, by Gwen Waight
"Ideas," glass, wood base with mixed media (includes battery lighting), by MFA Member Judy Ann Jordan
“Ideas,” glass, wood base with mixed media (includes battery lighting), by MFA Member Judy Ann Jordan
"Long Term Memory," motorcycle exhaust pipe, furniture & horse harness parts, plastic, leather, by MFA Member Mary Opasik
Long Term Memory,” motorcycle exhaust pipe, furniture & horse harness parts, plastic, leather, by MFA Member Mary Opasik

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