Robert Fontenot and the Recycle LACMA Project
Our April/May 2010 Collecting department features the Recycle LACMA project by artist Robert Fontenot. In early 2009 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, announced that it was deaccessioning (or removing) over 100 pieces of couture, textiles, and costume from its collection to sell at auction. Originally intending to purchase just one object, Fontenot ended up taking home over fifty items at thrift store prices. He immediately began the Recycle LACMA project, finding whimsical ways to breathe new life into these once-treasured pieces. Although lighthearted in form, the artist intends this ongoing series as a critique of the complex and, at times, absurd process by which museums acquire, and later discreetly dispose of, various works of art. The Recycle LACMA project is fully documented on Fontenotís blog www.recyclelacma.blogspot.com and will be complete when every scrap of acquired fabric has been transformed into something new. Below are just a few additional examples of his many whimsical reinventions.
All images by the artist.
Knickerbockers (United States), 1925; LACMA Accession Number: CR.71.22; purchased with Costume Council funds.
Boxing Gloves, 2009; cotton corduroy, cotton fill, metal buckles; machine and handsewn; 14" x 8" x 5" each glove.
Wedding Dress, Skirt (Korea), circa 1960s; LACMA Accession Number: CR.356.66.1b.
Butterfly Net, 2009; synthetic fabric, wooden tennis racket; machine and handsewn; 27" x 9Ĺ" x 36".
Woven textile; LACMA Accession Number: M.87.41.15b; Label 1: Barrow, 11/23/87.
Snakes in a Can, 2009; cotton, steel springs, metal can; machine and handsewn; 56" x 2" x 2" each snake, dimensions variable.
Purple Korean Skirt (Chima), circa 1960s; LACMA Accession Number: A.8416.64-2b; Gift of Miss Younghee Choy.
Dog Bed, 2009; silk, foam; machine and handsewn; 23" x 22" x 7".