Glean New Deal
Los Angeles, CA
March 4 - 26, 202
Shelly Badal , Misha Davidoff , Spencer Earthworm, Alexandria Hall , Mia Hernandez , Anderson Matthew, KA McMahon , Ari Salka , Cove Tsui , Dylan Zarate
In September 2020, three of us trekked along the hot concrete slant of the LA River bank with garbage bags in hand. I yanked a rusty grate from the water with bravado, but it was too heavy to carry. We trotted on and a young woman called out from the bike path, “You forgot a really big piece of trash!” We looked at her, confused, afraid she was trying to hold us accountable for the giant grate I had just extracted. “Me,” she hollered, “I’m the trash.” Oh, gosh.
Like a lot of things in art, making work from found (salvaged, upcycled, repurposed, etc.) objects does not usually hit as significant until the artist themselves has accrued some sort of reputation, even the slightest amount of girth. At that point, the mechanisms of providing context are ushered in warmly, words like “alchemy” are bandied about, the viewer at large is invited to consider the profundity of infusing a devalued thing with value.
In our day of waste and garbage, what is lovely is that anyone can (and anyone certainly does) taste this profundity pretty much whenever they want. In her consideration of Agnès Varda’s Les glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000), Amanda Boetzkes writes that the gleaner is “the caretaker of the garbage” as well as a “a hinge between the human world and what lies beyond its end.” She continues to say that gleaning is “fundamentally an anti-capitalist gesture” and a “form of acquisition that is a practice of living generously.” A liminal space of care based on anti-capitalist generosity? What a place to be! And given how trashed-up the world is, could it very well be possible to find, or make, that place anywhere? At the very least, it’s a fun premise.
The artists in Glean New Deal were asked to make a work with something gleaned in Los Angeles, preferably a discarded item found on the street and free-of-charge. We tried to let the assignment find us, and this – the ten works in this show – is what we found.
Raw Materials (2022)
Mixed Media & Digital Video Loop (18 mins)
Working with basic materials that reminded Matthew of his grampa Bill: a metal slab, some fabric and a projector hidden under a wooden crate - a collection of audio and video recordings projected through several planes of glass (repurposed props from Matthew's debut feature film, Baja Come Down) including interviews with his Grampa from 2013-2016, before he died, projected onto the rusted metal, repeating on a continuous loop: Grampa talking about homes he’d built over the years in California and Mexico, looking back on times of his past adventures, marriages, and that he had finished his bucket list!