Current Exhibitions

Transcending Trash: The Art of Upcycling

April 26, 2014 - August 31, 2014

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Transcending Trash: The Art of Upcycling celebrates the transformation of throwaway objects into complex and colorful works of art. The exhibition includes work by a dozen different American painters, sculptors, and video artists who confront the reality of our cultural dependence on mass-produced disposable items by repurposing them as components of larger artworks.

Assembling preexisting objects into finished works of art has a history stretching back at least to the early 20th Century. Pablo Picasso famously collaged newspapers and other non-art materials into his paintings, and constructed sculpture from found objects. Marcel Duchamp recognized that the meaning associated with a utilitarian form like a bottle rack could be partially erased simply by upending it and presenting it as abstract sculpture. Each of these early examples revealed the ever-present play between an object's original purpose and its new role as an element of a painting, sculpture or collage.

The American artist Joseph Cornell created evocative surreal narratives by arranging disparate mundane objects and images in wooden boxes. Later, Robert Rauschenberg would expand this strategy to a larger scale with "combines" like Monogram, which incorporated painting on a full sized taxidermied goat with an automobile tire slipped over it.

The French artist Arman's aggregations of shoes, paintbrushes, clocks, and other thrown away consumer goods provide perhaps the clearest antecedents of the work of many assemblage artists working today. The practice of collecting and repurposing throwaway materials, primarily those made of plastic, now directly reflects an earnest concern by the artist for the planetary crisis of human produced pollution.

Incorporating a found object into a larger artwork no longer represents the "happy accident" of recognizing a new aesthetic meaning for it as part of a painting or sculpture. Instead, materials otherwise bound for a landfill or the ocean are consciously chosen as subjects for often large scale artworks that directly engage the viewer with the effects of our consumer lifestyles.

Though arranged and sometimes altered, plastic bottles, bags, utensils, and other elements might collectively mutate into a different overall form, but they are never unrecognizable for what they are—the detritus of our everyday lives, disposed of because they are inconvenient to keep around.

Sometimes the activity of collecting these trashed materials is the subject of the artwork itself. These collections or accumulations serve as microcosms for our global condition, where junk simply refuses to be cast entirely away, washing back up on a seashore or resisting decomposition into the soil.

The artists of Transcending Trash return the many things we throw away, the trash that escapes our control or notice back to us in the form of artworks captivating both for their sheer beauty and for the insight they offer into our material lifestyles. As is often the case with compelling art, their work is simultaneously pleasing and unsettling.

Matthew Leslie, Curator

Artwork by:
     Dianna Cohen
     Marina DeBris
     Jeffrey Frisch
     Jenice J. Heo
     Jessica Hokanson
     Julie Kornblum
     Pam Longobardi
     Cynthia Minet
     Ann Phong
     Lila Roo
     Steve Schmidt
     Shirley Tse

Beyond the Words

July 2, 2014 - July 27, 2014
A free exhibit in the Carnegie Gallery


The Society for Calligraphy, Southern California, is pleased to partner with MUZEO in bringing you this calligraphic exhibition, Beyond the Words. The works you see here were created by both long-time professionals and relatively new calligraphers. Our society, which is one of the largest and most active in the world, has over 400 members comprising five regional guilds whose mission is to promote the study, teaching and practice of calligraphy.

Beyond the Words displays examples of historical, traditional, classical calligraphy from the first century forward presenting examples of Roman, Medieval and Italian Renaissance scripts along with contemporary variations including "gestural" lettering from our artists.

Calligraphy is compelling for its visual interest with its individual interpretation and composition of the text. It is also a provocative reflection of past and present civilization.

Reverie in Daily Life

August 2, 2014 - August 31, 2014
A free exhibit in the Carnegie Gallery


What is Art? Reverie in Daily Life is nine artists' unsophisticated answer to this universal, multifaceted question; "We reinterpret the subject of art by imbuing artistic recreation in different elements of our daily life. Our interpretation was not a concept learned in school, or a lesson inherited from generations, but what our eyes have seen and our senses have felt."

Artwork by:
     Chungmee Lee
     Chongnam Lee
     Elle Bae
     Gowoon Choi
     Okka Han
     Sukran Han
     Susan Hwang
     Yukyoung Kim
     Yun Jung Choi

For more information, please call MUZEO at 714.95MUZEO (714.956.8936)