Trash Talk

Intrigue spurred Tony Feher to pick up milk crates strewn along the streets of New York City and take them home 25 years ago. "Here these things were, and I started picking them up, as if they were bright shells on a beach," he says.

Feher began experimenting with the composition of them, turning them on their sides and stacking them in a 7 1/2-foot column, until what he was looking at was no longer simply five milk crates — it was a work of art. This untitled piece, along with more than 50 others, will be featured at the Akron Art Museum from April 12 to Aug. 17, as part of an exhibit surveying a career birthed out of turning jars, marbles, wire hangers and anything that caught his eye into minimalistic artworks praised by The New York Times and shown throughout the world.

"Somebody will say, 'Oh, he makes art out of trash.' Well, I don't see it that way," he says. "I'm not doing it because it's trash. I'm using it, because there was something sparkly, red and shiny on the top of that garbage can, and I want that thing."

Feher is not trying to make a statement with his pieces, rather he simply creates art for the satisfaction of doing so. "I like to think of it like poetry," he says. "Poetry can never be defined, but it can be interpreted endlessly." 

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