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Found Art: I Found It And Now It’s Art

“Found art” is not an expression denoting pleasure at finding a lost boy named Art. It is a term for making artful things out of what someone finds in the trash, or what should go into the trash.

Found art used to be called hoarding and was a serious condition for which you could lose an old toaster to someone who had arranged an intervention. Now it’s called “found art” as long as you put the old toaster on the newel post at the foot of the stairs. Which might be useful for popping a slice of toast into on your way downstairs. Either that, or a seriously burned crotch from sliding down the banisters right into a toaster.

One woman refused to make her bed one week and instead, made an object of art out of her whole messy area. I could do that, but then what would I do come bedtime? Get the keys to the art gallery so I could use my bed? Plus, her bed was probably shellacked and glued to the floor as protection from the cleaning crew who were seriously confused come closing time.

“Wait!” they yell after the departing docents. “You forgot your bed! And your disgusting used Kleenex!”

Found art on chezgigi.com
This sure beats making my bed and cleaning my room. Just make a statement and cart it to the art gallery.

Every night I could donate the dirty dishes to the Museum of Undone Chores. This museum wouldn’t even need a cleaning crew. A cleaning crew would ruin the statement I was trying to make with the dirty dishes.

The French, natch, have “found” a better way to express found art, mainly because it sounds good in French: Objets Trouve (there’s an accent egout, an umlaut, and a transmission over the “e”, but I haven’t found them on my keyboard yet).

The other day, I was conversing with a friend on Facebook. She told me, with appropriate classical pathos–which she didn’t realize until I pointed it out– that “all she had lately was Paris and her painting.” I told her to watch the movie Casablanca if she was going to come up with lines like that.

What I really said was that she needed to go Paris, ASAP, and paint a picture of a pont–which is French for bridge–but since I couldn’t think of a famous French bridge at that moment, I said she should paint Le Pont du Merde, because the word “merde” always springs to mind no matter what.

Merde is French for poop. What could be more found art than a bridge of poop?

Collectors and their collections of found objects of art date back to the 16th century. People put weird things into “curiosity cabinets,” which today translates to “garage,” “utility drawer,” and “stuff Mom’s had in the house for sixty years and now I’ve got to deal with it.” Or, it means that weird and wonderful piece of Americana you find on the highways and byways of this great land of ours, the wacky museum. There’s a museum of bananas, Pez dispensers, salt and pepper shakers, hair, and mustard, among many others.

If you collect it, find it, or inherit it from a crazy relative, you can make a museum out of it and claim it as a non-profit, mainly because it probably will be.

In the 1900s, artists got into the found art act and started gluing bicycle wheels to the top of stools, or throwing stuff for which they couldn’t find a storage space at a spot in their living room and donating the whole thing to a fancy art gallery.

Sarah Lucas, ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’ 2000
At least this stuff isn’t sitting out at the curb waiting to go to a landfill. Nope, people will have to pay to see it.

This artful arranging is called “assemblage,” to differentiate it from “found art.” It’s still found art, but now you gotta assemble it into something that makes a statement about our lousy modern society. Like: “The Disruption of The Natural World Through Gluten Free Manufacturing Factories of the MidWest.” 

I’ve got a few boxes filled with stuff that my son left behind as he grew up, mostly little toys. I didn’t want to throw them away, but I don’t want to keep storing all of it. I’ll have to either smear a floor with fast drying glue and toss the whole box full at the glue spot (arranging it would take away from the artistry), or glue it nicely to a wreath or something. Once I do that though, it becomes a craft and NOT art. There’s a difference, for cripe’s sake.

For that matter, I could lift our entire backyard and donate it to a museum, claiming a generous tax deduction for this unselfish act of patronage. I will do this before I rake the dog poop, because artists have shown us the value of poop. “Still Life With Nails, Poop, and an Empty Gazebo” will set the art world on fire!

Piero Manzoni put his own poop into 92 cans and called it “Artist’s Shit,” and sold them for a great deal of money. My bridge of poop isn’t looking so bad now, huh?

Of course, the bridge will be named in French to command more money: Le Pont du Merde d’un Jeune Artiste Pour Beaucoup D’Argent. So artistic.

What to do if the sewer workers go on strike.


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10 thoughts on “Found Art: I Found It And Now It’s Art

  • October 29, 2019 at 3:36 am

    To me, “found art” would be the painting that was hanging in a French kitchen that just sold for over $25 million. Dollars.

    I’d love to find something like that. I’d even share with you.

    • October 29, 2019 at 3:38 am

      Oh, my. I could get into crepes instead of toast. We could form a detective agency for found art. Of course, to make money on it, it would have to then be “stolen art,” but that’s the breaks.

  • October 29, 2019 at 4:29 am

    How hard could it be to burgle a French kitchen?

    Crepes would be good. Really good chocolate delivered would be very good!

    We need to plan this.

    • October 29, 2019 at 3:54 pm

      It wouldn’t be hard at all! We just have to wear some black uniforms and speak in a guttural voice, and they’ll give it up. Crepes, chocolates, 25 million dollar paintings will be ours for the taking! We shall plan. We can fly over there on my discounts.

  • October 29, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Make sure you get the remains of your Femoral Head and Neck all the way to the base of your Greater Trochanter. You can drop into an acrylic cube, sign it, and use it as a paperweight/objet d’art (that’s the required French part) even through your surgeon ‘found’ it. I never got mine back and I’m pissed. (Still mad about my foreskin too!)

    • October 29, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Haha! Well, I’m glad you never made an objet d’art of your foreskin. Lawdy. But you’ve got something there. I wanted to see my original one too (You know they tell you to ask the mechanic to see the original part so you know you aren’t getting ripped off), but Don told me that was gross. Maybe the dogs wanted to chew it! Geez.

      The Femoral Paperweight: A Structural Comment On Today’s World and Its Destruction of Ourselves.

  • October 31, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Outrageously funny but yet mindfully provoking.

    As usual.

    • October 31, 2019 at 6:21 pm

      Thank you, Banson! I’ve been busy shellacking my bed, so I didn’t see this for awhile. :))

  • November 1, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    I still think you’re the long-lost, separated-at-birth sister of Dave Barry… but you’re twice as funny and 50% smarter.

    How can I support your work? (Oh yeah, I forgot… buy your books)

    • November 2, 2019 at 12:29 am

      Oh, you. You know just where my buttons are!

      I’m editing the first one, but when that’s done, I think I’ll “bundle” them for sale on Amazon and feel like a REAL writer. A bundle. Wow.


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