Sunday, July 5, 2009
I'm just back from a brief trip to the city, where I saw an exhibit by Beijing-based conceptual artist Song Dong at the Museum of Modern Art. The installation consists of the complete contents of the artist's mother's home, amassed over fifty years during which she, like everyone else of her generation, refused to discard anything--an old toothbrush, a piece of styrofoam packing material, a scrap of fabric--that might come in handy later on. Song Dong transported this vast collection to New York, along with his mother. Together, they organized it into a work of art called Waste Not . I wondered why I felt profoundly unsettled while looking at the vast accumulation of old shoes, pots and pans, stuffed animals, paint cans etc. Then I came home and went into my basement and saw what had been accumulating there. Calling my mother and asking her to come over and organize my stuff was not an option. So I e-mailed Long Island Big Brothers and Big Sisters to schedule a pick-up of all these things I know I'll never use but someone else might.