In an interview with the radio show Studio 360, artist Ned Schaper said “Trash is the great medium of our age.” We’re surrounded by it, he said, so why shouldn’t we do something with it?
What he’s decided to do with it is create sculptures. Over 100 sculptures created from salvaged items fill Schaper’s Museum of Kinetic Art in Tucson, Arizona.
Old rocking horses. Discarded diving boards. An old drum machine. What used to be trash has been repurposed as art by Schaper, a sculptor, poet, and performance artist whose kinetic sculptures were first seen as part of his theater projects and in other exhibitions across the country before settling into their permanent home at the museum in 1983.
Schaper says he doesn’t necessarily have a plan when he begins assembling his found materials. Instead, he “look[s] at things that come to me and wait for things to fit together.” This results in moveable creations that are unpredictable and unique. The objects aren’t just meant for observation, however. The pieces are transformed from sculpture into sets, props, and costumes for a one-man show Schaper holds in the space, which he performs under his stage name, Mat Bevel.
Update February, 2018 The Museum of Kinetic Art is temporarily closed in order to film a virtual reality tour of the museum and a new TV show called “Bevel Café,” which will feature all the sculptures and content from the Surrealistic Pop Science Theater. For more information, contact Paula Schaper at 520-604-6273.