What is Here is Open: Selections from the Treasures in the Trash Collection

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Hunter East Harlem Gallery
2180 3rd Avenue at 119th Street
New York, NY

Through September 14

Participating Artists: Tomie Arai, Dominique Duroseau, Maria Hupfield, Coronado Print Collective (Pepe Coronado, Leslie Jiménez and Carlos Jesus Martinez Dominguez), Shellyne Rodríguez.

For over 30 years, Nelson Molina worked for the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) as a sanitation worker. His regular pick up routes were in Manhattan 11, a district bordered by 96th Street to 106th Street between First and Fifth Avenues. While he worked, he found many objects; some that needed repair and others that were fully intact.

As hundreds and hundreds of objects amassed, Molina created the Treasures in the Trash Collection inside DSNY’s garage. The result of Molina’s labor of love is a collection of objects that range from carefully posed, century-old framed family portraits to needle point; from lost cassettes to castaway Buddha statues; from colorful Pez dispensers to clocks and 8mm films. Each object has become a rescued moment, recovered by Molina’s sense for the importance of place, sustainability, and community.

What is Here is Open: Selections from the Treasures in the Trash Collection is an exhibition that places works by seven New York City-based contemporary artists alongside a selection of Molina’s found objects. Molina, along with curator Alicia Grullón, will choose objects from the Treasures in the Trash Collection to accompany the contemporary artists’ works, creating unique, site-specific installations at the Hunter East Harlem Gallery. These ephemeral installations blur the lines between art, memory, and archive, and take on both an anthropological and artistic resolve that rests in community’s vision of itself. The resulting project emphasizes the artistic and curatorial processes of those who make, those who collect, and those who arrange, engaging the similarities among these actions.

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