Special Evening Salon
Mel Chin
Thursday, February 11, 2010, 7.00-9.00pm

There is no (a) solution, because there is no (a) problem

Or: Making a 300 Million Dollar Difference with Conceptual

Art in the Age of Disaster and other Repetitive Negativities

Artist Mel Chin will present an abbreviated exposition of his works of art as political critique, chasing after disasters with options and solutions and the making a "Fundredmental" difference. Q & A welcome. Participation encouraged. Requirements: Bring pen, pencils or crayons.

Mel Chin is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. He developed Revival Field (1989-ongoing), a project that has been a pioneer in the field of "green remediation": the use of plants to remove toxic, heavy metals from the soil. These projects are consistent with a conceptual philosophy that emphasizes the practice of art to include sculpting and bridging the natural and social ecology.

Well known for his iconic sculptures, which often address the importance of memory and collective identity, the artist often insinuates art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and popular television. Investigating the ways in which art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility, Chin’s socially engaged projects also challenge the idea of the artist as the exclusive creative force behind an artwork. “Sometimes, the survival of my own idea may not be as important as a condition I might create for others’ ideas to be realized,” says Chin.

From 1995-1998 Chin formed the collective ‘the GALA Committee’, which produced In the Name of the Place, a conceptual public art project conducted on American prime-time television. Chin also promotes “works of art” that have the ultimate effect of benefiting science, as in Revival Field, and the recent Fundred Dollar Bill/Operation Paydirt Project, an attempt to make New Orleans a lead-safe city.

Further information: The Fundred Dollar Bill Project

Above: Mel Chin: SAFEHOUSE, 2008-10

Materials: existing house, stainless steel, steel, wood, plywood, gatorboard, lead encapsulation paint, automotive body and paint finishes, 12,000 brass thumbtacks, 6000 unique handrawn "Fundred Dollar Bills", St. Roch Neighborhood, 8th Ward, New Orleans, LA.

Size: 22' W x 40' L x 18' H. Note: interior walls are 10.5' in height

Image courtesy of the artist.



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