Over the past nine months, gallery artist Mac Premo has archived almost 400 objects that he had collected over the course of his lifetime and consigned them to a 30-yard dumpster. Lined with the relics of his life and work, The Dumpster Project represents the largest and most impressive project that Mac has completed to date. Premiered at the DUMBO Arts Festival on September 23, 2011, The Dumpster Project is a work of transportable public art, as well as a daily blog (www.thedumpsterproject.com).
MAC PREMO, The Dumpster Project, 2011, Mixed-media assemblage, 135 x 102 x 281 inches
Fundamentally, The Dumpster Project is a physical taxonomy of one man’s existence. Mac Premo is a Brooklyn-based collage artist whose longtime Boerum Hill studio was a sanctuary for an assortment of objects accumulated over decades. Included among the hundreds of items are old baseball cards he shared with his dad, the shoes his eldest daughter first walked in, recently extracted wisdom teeth from an eccentric friend, a Persian music mix-tape, and a fortune cookie message that warns him against the pitfalls of relaxation (it reads: ‘You’ve had a good start. Work Harder!’). More than just objects of ephemera, they are participants in Mac’s artistic repertoire that act as both influence and raw material for his body of work. The years of collecting suddenly turned into a process of de-accession when the move to a smaller studio forced Mac to decide on the fate of his objects. The Dumpster Project is the result of this quandary. Rather than use the dumpster as trash mechanism, Mac has converted a 30-foot long industrial dumpster into an exhibition space where each object is discretely displayed.
A visitor to the installation will walk into a modern-day “cabinet of curiosities”, where each object is numbered and a mobile application will enable the viewer to use his or her smart phone to access a eulogy Mac has written for each item, as well as a studio photograph of the object set cleanly against a white background. In conjunction with the installation, Mac has embarked on the ambitious task of cataloguing each and every item for the project’s dedicated blog. Each day an entry featuring an item is revealed and includes a photograph of the item taken by Mac, accompanied by a description of its significance along with its dimensions. Through these daily entries, the visitor quickly gains an understanding of Mac’s aesthetic, quirks, sense of humor, love of family, and sense of self.
Mac Premo is an American artist and self-proclaimed “stuffmaker.” He has co-created several major public art projects in Belfast, Northern Ireland and has exhibited in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington DC. He was a featured artist in the P.S.1/MoMA 2007 exhibition Emergency Room. He is the recipient of seven New York Emmy® Awards, including awards for best commercial, photography, set design and best PSA. Mac lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughters. The Dumpster Project is produced by The Frank Collective (www.frankcollective.com). Production of the dumpster is hosted by Macro Sea. The Dumpster Project is fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). He is represented by Pavel Zoubok Gallery in New York City.
Please visit www.thedumpsterproject.com to learn more about the project and to see a virtual archive of the objects complete with the artist's vivid recollections.