“A bag of Cheetos overturned on the sidewalk is a stunning composition”: watch artist Adam Milner make art from …
If you find yourself near the South Pacific Playground in Brooklyn, keep your eyes peeled for a 2003 Silver Honda CRV. It’s owned by someone called Conor, and if you text him (419-971-1233), he will direct you there directly.
Brooklyn is not your home port? Near Gramercy Park, there is a dog named Oh Papa who usually hangs out with his owner, Starlee. You can also send him an SMS to know the exact location.
These seemingly random people and places are actually site-specific artwork locations that make up the traveling installation. Public sculptures by Brooklyn artist Adam Milner, and presented by Black Cube, a nomadic contemporary art museum based in Colorado.
Milner is a self-proclaimed “collector” who constructs elaborate installations from discarded or found objects. Babybel cheese wax, porcelain figurines, a friend’s braided hair (“is that my hair now?” He wants to know) or plastic gems embedded in a smooth jasper stone, all salvaged in thrift stores, on street corners, or simply collected over the years, each becomes the foundation of its work.
In an exclusive interview filmed as part of the Art21 series Close up of New York, Milner describes himself as a “magnet, and objects fly towards me all the time, and then I have to deal with them. For the omnivorous artist, that means paying close attention to detail to find commonalities in texture, color, and shape, then meticulously organizing things in jewelry box-shaped displays.
While DIY self-improvement shows like Cleaning with Marie Kondo and Accumulators extolling the wonders of the purge, Milner said he was “really interested in this idea of vibrant matter, or this idea that everything is active – and how, when we are done with something, it still exists in the world. For Milner, there is beauty in the entropy of everyday life.
“I’m just going to walk around the neighborhood and look at the trash,” he told Art21. “A bag of Cheetos overturned on the sidewalk is an amazing composition.”
Watch the video, which originally appeared as part of Art21 Close up of New York series, below. “Adam Milner: Public Sculptures” is on view at the Black Cube until August 15, 2021.
This is a part of “Art on Video”, a collaboration between Artnet News and Art21 which offers you clips of current artists. A new series in the flagship series of the nonprofit Art21 Art in the Twenty-First Century is now available on PBS. Watch all episodes from other series like New York Close Up and Extended Play, and learn about the organization’s educational programs on Art21.org.
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