When Duchamp's confederate wrote in defense of Fountain that the only works of art America had given the world were its plumbing and its bridges, she might have been remiss not to mention the Dollar Store.
This mini-mall staple is a bona-fide USA original: no other culture could have spawned the genius that allows the suburban shopper to acquire a condom-packet keychain, 5000 pipe cleaners, a slutty-mental-hospital-inmate halloween costume, and a box of olive-fuschia construction paper in an afternoon, all without having to break out the Mastercard.
Now in Corpus Christi Texas, local artists are paying tribute to all the phantasmagoria, convenience, and parsimony afforded by this unique retail institution...and playing around with the now aged Duchampian institution of found art. The Islander Art Gallery in Hamlin Center (which just happens to be next to a Dollar Store), is now displaying work solicited from contributors who were required to provide pieces inspired by or made with Dollar Store products. A plethora of vaguely witty submissions ensued, including the mixed media Untitled Fork and Untitled Spoon (composed of the eponymous plastic untensils) and my favorite, an actual Cambell's soup can stuck in a dollar store frame and hung on the wall. (Through July 2nd.)