Swept Away 07.02.12 - 12.08.12

Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York has explored the intersection of traditional or unusual materials and techniques as viewed through the lens of contemporary art and design in a series of exhibitions that include Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting; Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary; Slash: Paper Under the Knife; Dead or Alive: Nature Becomes Art; and Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities.

The next investigation into unusual mediums features an international group of artists whose major materials are dust, ashes, dirt, and sand. Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design will highlight works that deal with issues such as the ephemeral nature of art and life, the quality and content of memory, issues of loss and disintegration, and the detritus of human existence. Sculptures made from ash by Chinese artist Zhang Huan, life-size sculptures of unfired dirt by American artist James Croak, and works created from city smog by American artist Kim Abeles, among others, illustrate the transformative potential of humble, overlooked, and discarded materials.

A full range of programs will accompany the exhibition. The exhibition will be amplified in a series of video interviews with participating artists and exhibition catalogue. Artists under consideration and in discussion include:

Phoebe Cummings (U.K.), Dirt / Paul Hazelton (U.K.), Dust / Kim Abeles (U.S.), Smog / Igor Eskenja (Slovenia, U.K.), Dust / Lee Stoetzel (U.S.), Sand / Alexandre Orion (Brazil), Automobile soot graffiti (video) / James Croak (U.S.), Dirt / Elvira Wersche (Netherlands/Germany), Sand / Catherine Bertola (U.K.), Dust / Jim Dingilian (U.S.), Smoke / Studio Glithero (U.K.), Fire and Smoke / Su Zhiguang (China), Urban Soot / Andy Goldsworthy (U.K.) sand photographs / Stephen Livingstone (U.K.), Smoke and Ashes / Cai Guo-Qiang (China/U.S.), Gunpowder ash / Julie Parker (U.K.), Lint / Antonio Riello (Italy), Burned books

Image: Phoebe Cummings

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