Live with Less
February 3 – April 5, 2009
Jason Middlebrook’s work explores the relationship between nature and human consumption. He is a longtime practitioner of using recyclable materials such as old wood, cardboard boxes, and plastic bottles to draw attention to the unbridled wastefulness of contemporary living. Live with Less is an expression of Middlebrook’s artistic and environmental goal: to see beyond the discarded nature of these materials and to re-imagine them in new, resilient forms.
Cardboard Stack (2009), the thirty-five-foot tower in the center of the museum, is made from several tons of cardboard collected on campus for re-cycling over a two-month period. The work calls attention to the levels of consumption that occur on campus and go unnoticed by the majority of those who work, study, and visit here; but ask those responsible for the collection and removal of recyclables, and they will liken UAlbany to a small city. The many layers of Cardboard Stack reveal familiar vestiges of campus life, while begging the questions: is it all necessary? Can we create a better learning environment while learning to live with less?
Jason Middlebrook: Live with Less
2009, softcover, 64 pages, 11 x 8 inches, 38 color images. Essay by Dan Cameron., interview by Mary-Kay Lombino.
The University Art Museum is grateful to the UAlbany Offices of Environmental Sustainability and Facilities Management for their assistance in collecting the cardboard for this project, and for their ongoing commitment to promoting the need for environmental accountability on campus and in the community around us. The project would not have been possible without the support of many other members of the UAlbany community, including Mary Ellen Mallia, director of the Office of Environmental Sustainability; Professor, Ed Mayer, Department of Art; and Tim Reilly, manager of Grounds Operations. Special thanks go to our student volunteers Tegan Barron-Shashok, Dan Foerste, Kris Hauser, Doug Holst, Janae McHugh, Alan Noble, and Ariel Willmott, who worked over winter break sorting, cutting, and stacking all the cardboard for the project.