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Ryan Frank’s Trash Portraits are a series of photographs shot directly over the circular openings of the metal trash cans that are placed on New York City street corners. Frank considers the trash cans on every street corner in all five boroughs as still life portraits illustrating a shared, constantly changing and usually unconsidered public space. Photographs of the circular trash cans are cropped along the edges, printed on photo transparency and mounted to Plexiglass to glow on both sides of the Bridge by the artificial or natural light. Each window in the Bridge has a unique trashcan portrait of a varying size, visible from the Bridge as well as viewable from the lobby and gallery.
Interspersed along the walls of the Bridge between the windows are photo-cutouts of detailed and enlarged pieces of trash. These wrappers, cans, disposable cups, napkins, crumpled up newspapers, etc are a comparison of the rocks, dirt and grass that one might find in rural landscapes. The trash cutouts provide museum visitors with a sense of flow and movement between the windows as if you are walking along any street in New York City.
Frank shines a light on the issues of consumption, climate change, geography, sociology, and civic responsibility and asks us to look at the hard questions of trash. Where does all the trash go? Why do we generate so much trash? Do we even notice all the trash in our community? What can we do? How can we produce less trash? Can we help?
This exhibition is supported, in part, by Raymond Learsy, Eileen & Larry Letts, Janet & David Offensend, Shannon & Isaac Green, Joie Jager-Hyman & Josh Zizmor, Bonny Wolf & Michael Levy.