Ever wonder what went into that greasy burger from the drive-thru window? Well, it probably isn’t art.
But it could be – and is – an art FORM.
Los Angeles street artist Bleep posted this Facebook update about his Project Expired Mac, and let us at DiversionsLA in on the origins of this project and what’s coming next.
(What’s not coming next? Eating fast food anytime soon, a habit we can somewhat sanctimoniously but honestly attest we gave up long ago anyway. )
Bleep writes: “as of yesterday the final stage of #projectexpiredmac#pem “in which i encased a #mcdonalds hamburger in an acrylic case as a non-biodegradable sculpture subject to the elements on the side of a building for the last 6 months” is at hand. for the month of November I will be hosting a #rotathon taking different fast food meals from #wendys #burgerking #carlsjr #jackinthebox#innout and encasing them in acrylic boxes with air holes drilled for the passage of the elements.”
DiversionsLA: So you’re making fast food into art! Describe the origins of this project?
Bleep: The origins are kind of ambiguous I guess. I remember when I was younger, going to work with my mother when she couldn’t get a babysitter. I remember a McDonald’s hamburger stapled to the bulletin board in the breakroom as a sort of holiday prank. When I asked about it, my mother explained to me that McDonald’s burgers did not rot… and so that stuck with me and wormed it’s way into the work.
DiversionsLA: Bleep began taping burgers around the DTLA Arts District, documenting the process with photographer HollowDoubt at the beginning of 2015. His current project arose from that project.
We asked Bleep to describe the way the food items are contained and who designed the boxes/picked locations.
Bleep: The food items are contained in clear acrylic boxes with air holes to expose the burgers. We affixed the box to the side of building. (Co-conspirator/artist) Plastic Jesus pretty much built and advised the project. I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am for the help. The location? That cannot be dispelled.
DiversionsLA: How long will you leave them mounted?
Bleep: The first project is basically on-going until it sells – time is the medium for the piece. The art will increase in price as time goes on. We are at 7 ½ months in on the first McDonald’s burger.
DiversionsLA: So, in short, rot adds value. That could possibly be viewed as a commentary about Wall Street, or politics.
Bleep: The new project known as #rotathon will be up for a month. The rotathon2015 includes five competing fast food chains.
DiversionsLA: While we’re not sure they appreciate the free advertising – but, no publicity is bad, right? – in the interest of art we’ll list them here:
Jack in the Box
In and Out
Bleep: They’re all rotting simultaneously. I think it’ll be interesting to see how far the rabbit hole is on this.
DiversionsLA: We do, too. How often are you documenting?
Bleep: I’ve documented it off and on in intervals of two weeks to a month apart. My photographer hollowdoubt is photographing the rotathon exhibit, and those are the images you see in this article.
DiversionsLA: What do you view as the ultimate outcome of the project?
Bleep: I love to hear what people have to say about it. I really have no expectation other than to inform and inspire. I know a lot of people are becoming health conscious these days, so awareness is a key aim with this project.
DiversionsLA: But beyond the altruistic – will you sell the pieces as individual objects?
Bleep: I will be selling the McDonald’s burger at Scope Miami Basel this year for $20k as a non-biodegradable sculpture subject to the elements.
DiversionsLA: Nothing rotten about that.
Now go out and NOT eat a burger.
Gobble this one up – Bleep devours American food, pop culture, and that quintessentially American vacation, the road trip. The result: a poignant, even childlike mash-up of images, words, and emotion.
“I watched and listented to cartoons and music, and just sporadically splat right on paper and canvas, there were the images. I used media paper, which is very strong, as my canvas,” Bleep says.
The show features recipes acquired through travels around America, among other tasty cultural icons. “There’s bourbon baked beans from Texas. the Trinity’s Italian fare from Chicago. I even met Priscilla Presley, who gave me Elvis’ banana peanut butter sandwich and bacon recipe. It includes butter and cinnamon,” Bleep relates.
But beyond food, “Eat” offers a perspective on American culture. “Gurus, junk, Homer Simpson, King of the Hill. It all characterizes my own experience, its fragments of our culture, heightened points. Like free jazz, I just run with it,” Bleep says.
Watch for more Bleep, collaborative and solo – soon.
British artist Banksy’s 2010 Detroit street art “I Remember When All This Was Trees,” sold at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills tonight for $137,500. This sale is just one of many street and contemporary art pieces drawing big crowds at Julien’s as well as participants online and by phone.
Excavated from an abandoned Packard Plant by Detroit’s 555 Gallery, and drawn in Banksy’s stencil technique, the piece that originally graced a cinder-block wall, is now owned by Steven and Laura Dunn. Dunn is the CEO of toy manufacturer Munchkin, Inc. 555 Gallery plans to use the proceeds to rehabilitate a 30,000-square-foot east Detroit warehouse into a multi-use arts space.
Other Banksy pieces generated interest and substantial sales throughout the evening, but perhaps the bigger story at Julien’s had nothing to do with Banksy’s murals.
As the liaison between Julien’s Auctions and consigning curator The Gabba Gallery, located in DTLA’s Westlake neighborhood, gallery owner Jason Ostro brought art in to Julien’s for the third year. “The majority of the artists here this evening I’ve worked with, and I’ve showed them. Gabba Gallery is thrilled that Julien’s Auction House is doing their 4th annual street art auction, and that they auction more and more pieces, year after year,” Ostro says.
Among the local artists Ostro curated for Julien’s are Wordsmith Jules, Mock Mar, 20, Morley, Christina Angelina, and Louis Carreon. All in all, over 40 LA-based artists contributed to the auction.
“While Banksy is certainly a large draw for the auction, a king of street art with a big world voice, the Los Angeles artists represented here do incredible work, and we’re excited by their participation,” Ostro asserts. He’s “always looking for more consigned and private collection pieces for the gallery, and to shepherd to Julien’s.”
Ostro has exhibited L.A. area artist Bleep, and was instrumental in bringing his piece “Rabbit Ears” to auction. Consigned as Lot 109, “Rabbit Ears” is acrylic and oil on canvas, and depicts a large, textured bunny with a television for a head, on whose screen is written ‘More.’ A strong symbol of a conspicuously consumptive culture, “Rabbit Ears” is whimsical, satirical, and pointed. What signal are your rabbit ears pulling in?
“Having a piece in the show has been insane already,” Bleep says. “Being interviewed, having so much attention paid to the work, the trajectory has just been amazing for me, jaw-dropping, and I’m super grateful to be here.”
Actress and producer Kat Kramer was at Julien’s to support the artists and the auction. “My father Stanley Kramer and my godmother Katherine Hepburn were huge supporters of the arts. I always come to support Julien’s. If my father and Katherine were alive they would be here,” she said.
Spicy margaritas, IPAs, hors d’oeuvres, and a buffet of cheese, breads, fruits and vegetables were enjoyed while auction paddles were distributed, and the buzz in the room became palpable.
Lot 1 began the evening with Shepard Fairey’s “Rise Above First” selling for $21,250.
Session I concluded September 30th following the preview reception; Sessions II and III will take place on October 1st as more street and contemporary artists go under Julien’s renowned hammer.