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Song Dong's Waste Not Installation at the Museum of Modern Art

Waste Not: Artist Tackles Mother's Compulsive Hoarding

I'm very excited that I'm going to be in New York soon to see Beijing-based artist Song Dong's installation Waste Not at the Museum of Modern Art. With his mother's collaboration, the artist gathered 50 years worth of objects (some useful, some puzzling) that she collected in the spirit of the Cultural Revolution's version of "waste not, want not." The installation includes a portion of the family's Beijing home that was reassembled and installed in the MoMA's atrium, along with chipped plates, bottles without caps, and other items which "form a miniature cityscape that viewers can navigate around and through."

What started as the understandable practice of saving things in austere times morphed into hoarding: saving became a way for Dong's mother to deny loss by preserving objects (her husband's death made her hoarding more compulsive) and safeguarding against future losses. In collaborating with his mother, says MoMA's associate curator Sarah Suzuki, the artist not only created a wonderful piece of art, he also granted his mother her wish that all these objects would be of use to people someday. Song Dong's exhibit Projects 90 will remain at the MoMA through Sept. 7.

Join The Conversation
Pistil Pistil 8 years
I love the story behind this piece of work. I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who can't relate to the activity of collecting and putting such value into 'things'.
tokki83 tokki83 8 years
i was just there at the MoMA. its really coool! and wow, Song Dong has a lot of pieces!!!
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
I think that's why it's at the MoMA and not the Met. I like it. I know conceptual art and found object art gets a bad rep (tampon in a teacup anyone?) but I enjoy finding the "art" in the everyday. My boyfriend's mom suffers from Alzheimer's and hoards like crazy (she's never met a napkin or straw she didn't like), so I can relate to this piece. It tells a story and conveys a narrative, which I like. I cannot relate to photos from Anne Geddes, dressing up infants as pieces of fruit; but for someone else, that's art.
Veka Veka 8 years
While I think this makes for an interesting news story of sorts, I'm not sure it's deserving of being in the MOMA. I'm an artist and I do believe that everyone's definition of art is different. But this just looks like a garage sale. I'm not bashing it - I think it's cool. But... in the MOMA? Really?
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