Phil Bender has raided your grandmother's attic. Bender's Last Place exhibit at the Laboratory of Arts and Ideas highlights the barely recyclable stuff of culture, including old potato mashers, nutcrackers, matchbooks, wooden tennis rackets and quilted hot pads. After excavating our cultural flea market, he catalogued these forgotten objects like fossils in a geometric grid. "That's why it's called Last Place," says Adam Lerner, founder and executive director of the Lab. "Because the gallery is the last place these objects will live their life."
Showing in tandem with Last Place, Mary Lucier's The Plains of Sweet Regret is a four-screen video installation documenting the dying Great Plains culture. From meditative close-up pictures of rubble and broken bowling trophies to a rodeo that morphs together like colors in a kaleidoscope, Sweet Regret is a reflection of emptiness and loss. "The sense of nostalgia in Lucier's work is very wistful," says Lerner. "It's the way in which we as artists can give new life to things in culture that society as a whole has given up on."
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The Lab is at 404 South Upham Street in Belmar in Lakewood. Admission is a suggested $3 donation. For more information, visit www.belmarlab.org or call 303-934-1777.
Jan. 23-May 7, 2008