Harvard College Library News: News from around the libraries

The Art of Going Green

exhibition photo  

Open, by Snarblit Blurkderf. Vissage of ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal, broken wooden furniture, leftover paint, discarded fiber washer. Screws employed in vissage are used or second-hand.


April 1, 2011 – A sculpture constructed from crocheted plastic grocery bags and plastic packing peanuts; a molecule-like structure made entirely of discarded bits of wire; a Dadaist-inspired arrangement of scrap metal pieces, including a valve handle; a heart-shaped creation that incorporates everything from electronics parts to tin cans, paper plates and bits of mirror – all will be on display at the Cabot Science Library as part of an art installation dedicated to work made from recycled materials.

The exhibition, entitled “Reuse, Renew, Recycle: Different Ways of Thinking About Trash,” draws a parallel between Harvard’s current campus-wide sustainability efforts and the longstanding use of “found” objects by artists.

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“The goal of this exhibition is to illustrate the connection between the world of the sciences, where sustainability and green technology is a major focus, and the world of art, where the idea of ‘recycling’ found objects into art is not new,” said Susan Berstler, Information Technology Coordinator at Tozzer Library, who is co-curating the exhibition with Science Reference and Cartographic Librarian Reed Lowrie and Shawn Panepinto, Acting Director of the Ceramics Program at the Harvard Office for the Arts. “The hope is that the art on display here will encourage viewers to think about the objects that surround them, and how they might be reused, in new and more creative ways.”

The exhibition was inspired in part, Berstler said, by the Harvard College Library Green Team’s successful effort to get all library workspaces certified through the Office for Sustainability’s Green Office program, and includes the work of 17 artists, including current Harvard students, recent graduates and staff, and work by community members who took part in a mixed-media sculpture class through the Ceramics Program.

“My hope is that people, first of all, will be impressed with the quality of the work, and a little surprised by it, because it’s not what they would expect to see in a science library,” said Berstler, who is also the Director of the Nave Gallery in Somerville. “I think some of the work here is quite beautiful, and some of it is quite humorous, but when they begin reading the statements that accompany each piece, I think people will begin to make the connection to their own lifestyle and their own work environment.”

Reuse, Renew, Recycle: Different Ways of Thinking About Trash is on display through May 15 at the Cabot Science Library. Hours. Directions.