Alexandra Hammond proposes “radical maintenance”, or the rigorous use of trash (both physical and ideological) as a wellspring of artistic production and a [dangerously] utopic approach to contemporary life.
In Woodland, California, the blue-collar corollary to the neighboring University town where I grew up, there is an establishment called Thrift Store Outlet. Located in a ‘70’s era strip mall on West Main Street. Long after the few blocks of turn-of-the century downtown buildings have given way to acreage of parking lots and low-slung big box retail interspersed with Jalisco-style taquerias and auto-body shops, before the towering rice mills at the edge of the big row-crop farms, the store occupies what must have been an old supermarket. Fluorescent lighting, off-white linoleum floors, and aisle after aisle of clothing, linens, china, housewares, board games, furniture and picture frames. This is not your curated urban “vintage” shop, nor does it carry the rusted farm equipment, barn-siding or claw-foot bathtubs of the antique mall or the salvage building supply. Instead, Thrift Store Outlet is the intermediary catchall, the place where normal household objects and garments end up without judgment of their relative age (too new to be antique, to old to be new), rarity or retro aesthetic value. Boost the color and the place could be the subject of an Andres Gursky photograph.
Figure 1: Part of Andreas Gursky’s, “99 Cent II Diptychon” (2001)