Monday, September 21, 2009

The Museum of Peripheral Art: The Wall

by Drew Martin

The Museum of Peripheral Art started with a communal art wall project on the corner of my property on South Broad Street and Brainard Place in Ridgewood, NJ in the early 2000's. To finish off a section of the yard without perimeter fencing and a living hedge, I piled all of the field stones dug up during the post hole digging. The pile was added on to with colonial bricks, Polish Tatra Mountain river stones, Prague cobble stones and other rocks from around the world. I also placed there small sculptures, trophies and other curious objects. Soon enough it became an attraction. Neighbors contributed to it and it started drawing a lot of attention. This all happened during the time I was working on my Master's thesis on the relationship of image and text. This work was academic and isolated, destined for a dark closet of The New School. The Wall, however, was much more promising. It was communal and constantly in flux. One old Jamaican neighbor once passed by, shook her head and said "I don't know what it is but I like it!" Another time I started pulling it down to clean up the corner and a passerby argued that it was part of the neighborhood and his "tradition" so I have left it up and still maintain it. This feedback, combined with the rememberance of a project I was part of in the late 1980's in Santa Barbara, where local artists exhibited works in the display windows of the closed shops during the reconstruction of State Street sparked The Museum of Peripheral Art and such serendipitous, projects.