Fifty-Two Collages In 52 Weeks

About the project…

Philadelphians dispose of 790,000 tons of rubbish every year.

Mixed-media artist Burnell Yow! made creative use of a small part of that every week from October 2004 through October 2005 via a project now known as Fifty-Two Collages In 52 Weeks.

Each week, no matter what the weather, Yow! went out on trash night in his Fitler Square neighborhood and collected the materials to be used in that week’s  8” x 10” collage. Items collected include clothes hangers, electric wires, window screens, Venetian blinds, wine bottle labels, parts scavenged from discarded printers and computer keyboards, chair caning, old coins, and even a pair nylon stockings from the 1950s still in the sealed package.

The completed award-winning collection of 52 collages was framed as a single work measuring over 9 feet wide by 4 feet high, and was exhibited from September 5th to November 5th, 2006 at the Berman Museum of Art as part of the “22nd Annual Juried Exhibition of the National Collage Society.”

Foreword from the book…

Over the period of its making, I have watched Burnell Yow!’s Fifty-Two Collages In 52 Weeks as each became a socio/cultural landscape, a statement, an archetype. Each collected by day, by night, in rain and in shine, each accompanied by a story of encounter and experience. As one, the group reads like a visual diary for a single year, persuading us to examine our existence and consumption. Each square inch of every canvas is a redefinition of the objects’ history, whether it is a corner of a newspaper or a single key from a computer keyboard. With this powerful composition, Burnell Yow!, a master of redefining objects, has once again caused us to view art with a new vocabulary, as a “time stamp”.

Eileen Tognini – Curator
August 2006

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About the author: Artist and musician.