Nice Work! #1 Matt Leavitt’s “DSC5019”

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Artist: Matt Leavitt

Title: “DSC5019”

Medium: Lucky Charms

Gallery: Surplus Space

Show: It’s the Last Night on Earth Again (Other People Are Also You), multiple artists, Jan. – Feb., 2015

The Artist On the Work: “This piece is not from the blobs series [which focuses on found materials as potential artistic mediums], but is related. When I photographed my blobs, a standard method emerged. They have a fairly uniform, scientific presentation. I liken them to paint swatches, and that was how I thought of the blobs: as sample images of potential art materials. All of them were photographed as I found them, without intervention on my part, but I thought about how I might paint or draw with them: juices dripping from rotting potatoes onto receipts, frozen bird poo, pixels darkened by bashing a screen at a TriMet ticket kiosk.


Rarely did I ever get around to using these media as I’d imagined, and to be honest, for the simple reason that I didn’t know what I’d make, or why. I know better now: just play, without knowing. So, ‘DSC5019’ is my documentation of creative playtime with Lucky Charms rainbow marshmallows as a sculptural medium. It does share several formal qualities with my blob photos: a single isolated material, subject in the very center, fully contained within the frame of the photo. And, like the photos in the ‘Blobs I Heart’ series, this photo was not intended to be ‘art’ or to be presented; it was a photographic ‘note to self’ for my own future reference.”

The Critic’s Experience: I remember the excess of suburban summers. Neighborhood pools and vending machines with Baby Ruths labeled D9. Street hockey and too much orange soda. Pavement so hot it seemed like our bike tires would turn to goop on the way to the 7-Eleven. Leavitt’s “DSC5019” takes me to those places. There’s something about Lucky Charms becoming dysfunctional as food—while being uplifted as a sculptural medium—that speaks to my middle-class American upbringing. It softly offends world hunger in its role as “wasted sustenance,” acknowledges our diabetic land of the free, and is made out of rainbow marshmallows—all puffed up and no doubt containing some sort of unseeable disease… Just like America! Nice work!

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