Maybe that one guy in American Beauty was right when he was trying to get into Thora Birch’s pants with talk of finding poetry in the desultory flight of plastic bags caught in an updraft. And if that’s the case, we could probably make a case for artfulness akin to Shakespearean sonnets in works like “Plastic Bag Chandelier” by Dan Steinhilber. So while there’s been no shortage of trash art lately, the photography of curbside refuse as art pushes the idea too far.
It’s an honorable idea — really — to find art literally sitting on street corners, but if that’s the case, Staten Island’s landfills could be billed as the next emerging art districts. After all, it’s a veritable mecca of filthy hazmat awaiting the cunning of curators and the poignant contexts of wily artists. Perhaps all these amateurish lensmen looking to make a name for themselves with this trashy trend need a push towards innovation. Take a cue from Steinhilber, guys. Instead of snapping up pictures of abandoned armchairs and trash bags, strive for the spark of the ragpickers.