Technically it's not a dump, it's a transfer station: the 44-acre Recology site where most of San Francisco's garbage and recyclables pass through on their way to either a landfill or a recycling plant. To those who work there, know it, and love it, it's the dump. And for many local artists, including an impressive array of CCA alumni and faculty, it has been the site of a four-month-long scavenger hunt. Recology hosts a one-of-a-kind, intensely competitive residency program where for four months, 40 hours a week, a few lucky artists find inspiration, a literally endless stream of raw materials, a wide array of tools, and 2,000 square feet of studio space, leading up to a culminating exhibition event. The program just celebrated its 20th year. Not all of the artists make work that is specifically about reuse, but no one leaves without having been profoundly affected by the experience, without thinking about life and culture (and trash) in entirely new ways.
On May 20-21 Recology will host the final exhibition of current residents Alex Nichols (soon-to-be alumna from CCA's MFA Program in Writing), Scott Kildall, and Niki Ulehla. That such an obviously object-oriented residency welcomed Nichols, a writer, is an indication of how it continues to evolve and push the envelope of what "art" and "scavenging" mean. Some of the best-known works to come out of the residency have included Nathaniel Stookey's Junkestra (2007), which subsequently performed to a sold-out audience at Herbst Theater in San Francisco and released a recording, and the Styrofoam Hummer made by Andrew Junge (MFA 2002), which has gone on to tour numerous exhibition venues all over the country and has achieved legendary, mythical status among the dump workers.Read the rest