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“Recycle LACMA”: Hilarious Send-Up of Deaccessioning, LA-Style

Don’t just dispose of museum objects. Repurpose them!

That’s the mischievously subversive concept behind Recycle LACMA, the parodic blog of Los Angeles-based artist Robert Fontenot. Here’s the blog’s description of his project:

On Jan. 14th, 2009 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced [link added]
that it was deaccessioning more than 100 items from its costumes and
textiles collection. Once carefully collected, catalogued, and cared
for, these items have now been cast back out in to the world. What will
happen to them? Like any other useless item, they will need to be
recycled or disposed of.

At three separate auctions [Fontenot] purchased over 50 items deaccessioned by LACMA and is now trying to
find new uses for these otherwise unwanted items.

The recycler proceeded to post images and descriptions of 16 LACMA cast-offs that he’s taken apart (“the deconstruction process”), sliced, diced and stitched into more “useful” items. Each of his creations is embroidered with the accession number of the museum objects from which they were derived.

Here’s one of my favorites—a paisley skirt…


…transformed into a playfully ironic LACMA banner with the title of the museum’s current show of contemporary Korean art (letters cut from the skirt’s pink tulle):


Bloggin’ Robert also includes commentary about deaccessioning practices, careening from the serious to the tongue-in-cheek, in posts titled Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Here’s my favorite Fontenot footnote:

It is important to mention that even those museums that do not deaccession, such as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, can expect to lose a certain percentage of their collection to shrinkage. [“Shrinkage” link added.]

Please don’t let my excerpts prevent you from savoring the whole thing. Gee, I wonder what he could have done with the Celia Cruz-owned window treatments that I deaccessioned when I moved into the Queen of Salsa’s former apartment! I recycled them by giving them to a starstruck Cuban curtain hanger who arrived to install my own less elaborate decorating choices.

I only hope the celebrity drapes didn’t get re-recycled on eBay!

an ArtsJournal blog