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See Art Made From Scavenged Objects at Jazz-Themed LIC Exhibit

By Jeanmarie Evelly | December 14, 2016 11:38am
"Swept Away," a sculpture by artist Michael Kelly Williams made from fraying violin bows.
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Materials for the Arts

LONG ISLAND CITY — An art exhibit debuting in Queens this week will feature works crafted from recycled and discarded objects — including an old shop sign, dozens of tiny sea shells and fraying violin bows.

"Found and Funky" opens Thursday at Materials for the Arts, a 35,000-square-foot warehouse on Northern Boulevard, where the Department of Cultural Affairs collects leftover art supplies and an array of other scrapped items, providing them to schools and nonprofits across the city.

The exhibit will showcase mixed-media pieces from artist Michael Kelly Williams, an artist-in-residence at Materials for the Arts who created the works out of items he culled from the site's "expansive collection of found objects," a statement said. 

"In 'Found and Funky,' Williams transforms items once deemed unworthy of use to a newly transcendent title of artwork," a description of the exhibit reads, adding that several pieces reference popular jazz musicians.

These include "We See," a sculpture named for a Thelonious Monk song that the artist made out of a eyeglass-shaped wooden sign from an ophthalmologist's office, shells and a film cannister. Another piece, "Swept Away," is made from a series of arranged violin bows.

Materials for the Arts Exhibit "We See" was made out of an eyeglass-shaped wooden sign from an ophthalmologist's office. (Materials for the Arts)

"I look for materials that draw me to them, that call out," Williams, whose other works include public mosaics displayed in a Bronx subway station, said in a statement.

"There is a strong folk art tradition in my hometown of Detroit utilizing found objects," he added.

The exhibit opens Thursday at Materials for the Arts, located on the third floor of 33-00 Northern Blvd., with an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. featuring a jazz performance. It will remain on display through April 8.