Visiting artists Jason Middlebrook and Kristi Lippire got a small taste of Durham from a student intern’s perspective during their visit to Duke last week. On arguably the most beautiful day of the year in Durham so far, we started in the Duke Gardens, then visited the Scrap Exchange and ended with lunch at Parker and Otis.
When the interns were brainstorming about where to take the artists, the first thing that came to mind was the Scrap Exchange. I remember being overwhelmed, yet intrigued by the sheer amount of scrap materials the store had accumulated the first time I went. The eclectic mix of items crammed into barrels and shelves had a certain sense of potential, almost as if they were begging to be transformed into something new and unexpected. The Scrap Exchange became a treasure trove for inspiration for my own side art projects, especially since I could easily get materials at a relatively affordable price.
It was exciting to see how enthusiastic Jason and Kristi were once we arrived at the Scrap Exchange. I’m quite sure they would have bought up the entire store if they didn’t have to worry about overweight baggage on the flight home. However, that did not stop Kristi from picking up a bunch of vintage editions of National Geographic and Jason from digging into the medical and scientific research supply corner for plastic bottles, test tubes and syringes to mix paint in. It was great to see them thoroughly enjoy excavating through the piles and piles of scrap as if on a treasure hunt, while talking to us about all the things they could do with the materials. Despite their different styles, their passion for creating art was clearly shared and I look forward to seeing more of their upcoming work.
Jason Middlebrook and Kristi Lippire have work on view at the Nasher Museum, as part of “Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy.” Their week-long residency was made possible by a Visiting Artist Grant from the Council for the Arts, Office of the Provost, Duke University.
IMAGE: Photo of The Scrap Exchange by Sharon Chan.