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What would you create from a blank canvas? What if that blank canvas was once a piece of trash? Beginning in 2008, Ken Marquis, artist and founder of Pennsylvania-based nonprofit Landfillart, Inc., solicited more than 1,000 artists from around the world to create and donate works of art made from discarded automobile hubcaps. The collection now numbers more than 900 transformed hubcaps, created by professional artists hailing from every U.S. state and 52 countries.
Originating from the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, and adapted for travel by ExhibitsUSA, Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art features thirty-five works from Landfillart’s collection—some wall-based and some pedestal-based. The exhibition encourages viewers to think of artists not only as creators, but as creative problem solvers. Objects range in size from one hubcap to a series of objects; some are kinetic and incorporate sound; while others directly reference specific environmental issues. In some cases, the artist responded to the hubcap formally, by focusing on design elements like color, line, shape, and texture in humorous or fanciful ways.
Visitors will experience such works as David Medley’s Hidden Treasures, which is accompanied by a small video monitor showing its sound and motion; or Red Baron by Danish artist Rick Dethlefsen, which re-imagines the Mercedes-Benz symbol as the propeller of a biplane flying directly at the viewer. Other works will showcase great artfulness, including Ireland-born Noel Molloy’s King, Queen and Fool, a three-part, highly polished sculptural work that resembles finely crafted jewelry; or South Africa-based Viv King’s Ndebele Inspiration, a carefully beaded and geometrically patterned design. Questions about the environmental impact of automobiles are raised by Witness, a work by Marla McLean of Maryland, which uses a reflective surface to remind viewers of our involvement with the ecosystem.
Second Time Around inspires viewers to reflect on the role of consumption in American culture and stimulates creative thinking about ways to re-use and recycle. Intriguing to viewers of all ages, the varying objects in the show will foster opportunities for intergenerational connections. In addition, the exhibition offers host venues many ways to engage local audiences through imaginative programming—from partnering with a regional organization that manages waste ecologically to hosting a lecture by an automobile expert to planning a recycling and green energy fair.
Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art is curated by Dana Hand Evans, executive director at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester, VA; in partnership with a curatorial team from Marywood University, Scranton, PA, and a professor of environmental studies at Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA.