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The Art of Activism:
A Conversation with Barbara Hashimoto

by Collette Chattopadhyay

Barbara Hashimoto’s recent work resides at the intersection of sculpture, consumer culture, and environmental concerns. She collects and shreds junk mail to build large-scale naturalistic forms that ironically resemble the earth itself. Transitory and site-specific, these pieces expose the excessive use, and even abuse, of natural resources that enables the seemingly limitless supply of printed advertisements delivered in the mail every day.

Many people learned about Hashimoto’s Junk Mail Experiment during a 10-month-long exhibition in the Chicago Arts District (2008). Conversation spread via the Internet, garnering the work not only local, but also national and international attention. During the fall of 2009, she created an installation at the Musée du Montparnasse-Paris at the request of Les Amis de la Terre, who championed her project for its commitment to using the earth’s resources with prudence and care.

Shredded Junk Mail with Grand Piano, 2007.
3 months of studio junk mail and piano, 9 x 16 x 12 ft.

Image: Eric Young Smith


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