When we are working in our studio in Andes, upstate NY, we have to take our garbage to the local garbage dump on the weekly basis. One day, in the summer of 2009, we went there, as usual, to dispose of our accumulated detritus. James La Barbera, known locally as Vincenzo, helped us unload our bags of garbage and, as usual, we chatted a bit. When we were leaving, he mentioned that he had something to give us. He went to the back room and came out with a painting. "You are artists, do you like it?" he asked. That was how the Salvage Exchange project began. On our next visit we agreed that, from now on, every time we would bring our garbage in, he would hand an art object back to us, anything he would consider art or what he thought deserved to be saved.


Vincenzo took his job seriously; he takes one look at the refuse and immediately knows what belongs in the garbage dump and what can find another owner. Cloth hangers go to one side, children's toys to the other; CDs and vinyl records go to special boxes for later distribution, etc. His selection of art objects for us ranged from landscape paintings to a plastic electric figure of Virgin Mary, as well as an electric saw, a c-print of Venice, two working radios and a wooden Pinocchio puppet.

Salvage Exchange, 2009, Series of 7 objects, photo documentation, Mixed media, Dimensions variable