Take It All Back

We went to Rome once. One thing that blew our minds was the public art. There’s so much of it that some has been reclaimed by the needs of everyday life. You see people taking lunch on what’s left of an ancient fountain or a big sculpture that anywhere else would be surrounded by those little laser-beam things that trip an alarm. Today, pretend you’re in Rome with “The Peace Keeper,” an installation in a new outdoor parklet gallery that’s all about reclamation. The installation itself reclaims a parking spot, and the material includes reclaimed wood, metal, plastic, vinyl, and other leftover bits of life that would otherwise take up space in a bad way. And you, dear reader, can reclaim the installation for yourself. Beanbag chairs occupy the center of the little deck. On one side are elevated planter boxes containing a small tree and other greenery. On the other is a small outhouse-looking structure that disappears into a hill of multicolored scraps arranged like shingles. Atop this hill are more planter boxes that hold flowers. This is the work of Erik Otto, who has been an artist in residence at Recology’s garbage transfer station and also worked on the city’s Art in Storefronts program. It’s the first of numerous installations that will inhabit the space for nine months to a year each; a neighborhood jury will consider submissions and choose who will next reclaim the spot in the name of art.
Oct. 3-Aug. 31, 2011

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