Found Objects Find New Lives in Bonnie Meltzer’s Very Mixed-Media Art

Found object sculpture of house

Green aritst Bonnie Meltzer's sculpture "House Music" incorporates found objects.

Written by: Josephine Bridges

Look closely at Bonnie Meltzer’s mixed-media sculpture, and you’ll begin to notice the eco friendly house is an autoharp, the door is switch plates, and the chimney is a paintbrush.

“I believe in the transformation of the objects I use,” says green artist Bonnie Meltzer. “I was ready to throw out an autoharp because the ends of the strings were very sharp. I picked it up from a different angle, and it said: house. I liked the idea enough that I took the time to make sure my art wouldn’t be responsible for puncture wounds.”

Meltzer first started making her very mixed-media art in the 70s, when she discovered a surplus computer thrift store near her supermarket. “Found-object art is very in right now,” she says, “but when I started doing it, people thought it was odd.”

Globes, battered musical instruments, mirrors, hardware, all kinds of computer parts including their cords, and “a whole lot of things that I don’t what they are” form the basis for Meltzer’s work, but she has limits. “I don’t incorporate objects into my art that can still be used for the purpose for which they were made. No usable computers or musical instruments were harmed in the making of these sculptures.”

Where does the artist get her materials? “I’ve been collecting things forever. People bring them to me. I buy them at garage sales, second-hand stores, and specialty stores for artists. Sometimes when I want something that I don’t have, I go to my Facebook page and whine. I usually get something. I probably have enough stuff to use until the day I die, but I always want something different. I’m like a little bird. If I see something shiny, I want it.”

How does Meltzer get started on one of her sculptures? “Sometimes I start with an idea, often a title. Sometimes an object gives me an idea. A box of multicolored floppy disks fell on the floor and I thought: quilt blocks. Sometimes the act of cleaning my studio is an aha moment, because I find things I forgot I had.”

How does she put her found objects together and keep them that way? “I prefer objects with holes or loops, so I can sew, bolt, or screw them on, or embroider or sew beads onto them. I love glue. If you can’t sew it, sometimes you have to glue it. I crochet wire to encase an object or bind it to another object. You can see through a lot of the crocheted wire, look down into it and discover more layers, more visual treats.” Look through the pliers into the sound box of Meltzer’s eco friendly “House Music,” and you will see yourself.

You can see more at bonniemeltzer.com.

Art Dubai Expands as the City Fears a Monstrous Debt

A piece of calligraphy art on display

In lieu of the gloom revolving around Dubai‘s upwelling debt concerns, the city’s annual art fair still managed to earn record sales, drawing more than 18,00 visitors – a 28 percent increase from 2009. The four-day contemporary art show featured the works of world-famous artists from 31 different companies, which was also an improvement in the variety of geographical representation in attendance at last year’s festivities.

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The success of some galleries, like Saudi Arabia’s Athr Gallery and Berlin’s Galerie Christian Hosp, which reportedly sold 90% of their inventories, stand in stark contrast with the suffering financial statuses of the local crowd. But it makes more sense to consider who attends the fair, said Joan Lee, head of Seoul-based SUN gallery, who admitted that most of the interested attendees are from royal families and collectors.¬†That isn’t to say that they are all foreign interests; after all, Tessa De Caters of Isabelle Van Den Eynde, a Dubai-based gallery, said that the local community of collectors is expanding alongside an increasing international interest in Middle Eastern art. With all this attention, it wasn’t a surprise when Fabio Rossi of London’s Rossi & Rossi, asserted that the four-year fair is undoubtedly finding it’s place on the global art market.

Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit Showcases the Abstract

Woman Looking At Blank Frame

What does it mean?

A recent exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit wants everyone to care less about what art means and more about what it inspires. Their vision uses abstract art to¬†instill emotion, and not to stoke an onslaught of questions; therefore, out of the who, what, where and why of things, all that anybody gets to know is the name of the artist. Afterall, according to Mark Stryker, an Art Critic for the Detroit Free Press, “Art isn’t about the answers, it’s about the questions.”

This collection of extra-abstract art was devised for inspiring – not inquiring. The artists felt that too many art enthusiasts were so infatuated with backstories and hidden meanings that they never reflected upon the art itself; in other words, art is an emotional creation, and it fails to intrigue if everyone is told what to think. A visitor to this exhibition will feel like a blind man in a dark room, looking for a black cat that doesn’t exist; or at least, that’s what the frank title wants you to think.

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Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit

So, if you like to read the biography, then this collection might not be for you. But don’t skip it all together, since it’s always good to exercise the mind and stretch the imagination. Besides, maybe after checking out Rachel Harrison’s 58 picture meditation on evolution, you’ll come back with even more questions than you ever thought possible.