Rome Travel Guide

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Frontiers in Found Art

We've always been fans of "found" art, if only because it doesn't require the hard work of regular art. No long days in the darkroom or studio. You don't have to be an artist. Found art is out there; it just needs to be found--and then picked up or, if that's not possible, photographed.

Our experience with found art began in Bologna in 1989, where we were living and where we had our first intense experience with the Italian passion for posters--and then for posters that had been torn and torn again, to reveal random patterns and layers of unintended meaning. The poster/photo on the left is from that period. Instant Robert Rauschenberg. This was easy.

Back in the States, Bill began picking up pieces of metal that been rusted and flattened from being out in the open and run over by cars. His first find was this paint can, pried from the Macadam on Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo. He was thrilled.

Rome is full of opportunities for the found-art connoisseur. We thought the phone booth at right, decorated by university students and located at the corner of viale Regina Elena and viale Ippocrate in the Piazza Bologna area, was ready for MACRO. And just across the sidewalk, at the back of some medical institute, we found a lovely pile of objects ready to be welded into high art.

The real frontier of Rome's found art scene, however, is the electrical box. Oddly ignored by the city's art elite, the electrical box has been "found" by movers, who have covered the boxes in delightful displays of "traslochi" stickers. This is by no means one of the best examples of electrical box art, but it should be sufficient to suggest the enormous potential inherent in these unusual metal canvasses. Watch for the upcoming show at Gagosian's. Bill


Jessica said...

Interesting article! In regards to the electrical boxes, you'll actually find that a lot of sticker and stencils artists put their stuff on them. Also, check out the back of traffic signs and you'll find a lot of stickers there as well.

Dianne Bennett and William Graebner said...

I wasn't aware that Rome's electrical boxes had been discovered by "real" artists. Just shows how hard it is to stay ahead of the curve. Bill