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One Man's Trash Is John Waters's Treasure

 Art meets HGTV.


Bill’s Stroller, John Waters

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Work No. 2340, Martin Creed

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Untitled (9 Pack Orange), George Stoll

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Untitled (Double Light Switch I), Doug Padgett

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Author–filmmaker–art collector John Waters earned the nickname the Pope of Trash for his raunchy, drag-filled oeuvre, which began raising eyebrows in the ’70s (Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble) and hit a crescendo with Hairspray in 1988.

This month, as curator of Home Improvements, the debut exhibit of the Union Square gallery FraenkelLAB, he trains his eye on domestic junk: Each piece in the show presents a household object in a new light, whether it’s Martin Creed’s plastic bag collage, Doug Padgett’s realist painting of a light switch, or a Moyra Davey inventory-style photograph. Of course, once in an artist’s hands, junk is no longer junk. Says gallery president Frish Brandt, “the idea is that taking any one of these pieces home would be an improvement.”

Home Improvements is at the Fraenkel Gallery Apr. 14–June 4

Originally published in the April issue of
San Francisco

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