The Amazing David Wasserman,
Tin Can Artist
We recently came across the works of David Wasserman, Tin Can Artist
(1917-1999). David successfully explored the artistic possibilities of
recycled tin and aluminum cans from the mid-60s through the mid-90s,
creating complex, textured images of rare beauty. A 1940 graduate of
Cooper Union in New York City, he was a successful commercial artist
who produced logos, booklets, advertisements and film strips for
advertising agencies and corporations in his Manhattan studio. But he
decided to also create art for his own pleasure, and, after
experimenting with oil paints, began looking around for a medium to
call his own. He soon discovered a source of an unexplored medium right
at hand--discarded cans. He and his wife Betty began collecting cans
from the trash bins of a nearby park long before recycling became
Taxi 72" x 42"
Neighbors collected Chock Full O'Nuts coffee cans for months so David
would have enough yellow metal for the body of the cab. The driver's
moustache is cut from the image of roasted coffee beans that was
featured on every can.
After washing and drying each can, David cut the metal into small
pieces, and then stored each color in its own bin. He then assembled
them into intricate metal mosaics that he fastened to a plywood base
with chrome-plated nails normally used in the production of luggage.
The pictures explore a variety of subjects depicted in a variety of styles.
Williamsburg 72" x 48"
David based this on a photograph taken on a Brooklyn street. His
impetus for this piece came from a wish to see if he could produce the
brilliant colors of a stained glass window using aluminum cans.
Spaghetti Dinner 48 x 40"
Spaghetti Dinner is the most three-dimensional of David's works. The
table protrudes 12" beyond the frame. Everything--the entire table
setting (including the wine glass) and the food--is made from metal.
The spaghetti is made from electrical wire.
Working on his metal "paintings" in his Long Island home on evenings
and weekends, the artist eventually covered all his walls with his
art, and stacked extra pieces in his basement. None were ever formally
exhibited until after he passed away. He was not interested in selling
his works, and they were seen only by neighbors, family and friends.
Pope John XXIII 42" x 60"
Because the desired pink flesh tones were the only shades David
couldn't find from cans, he produced them by painting pieces of sheet
metal. The halo above the pope's head is made from the corrugations
found in food-grade tin cans. David said he selected this subject to
see if he could produce the varied textures of the pontiff's robes.
In 1998, David and Betty Wasserman moved to Nashville to be closer to
their son, Steven. Steven finally persuaded his father to allow him to
organize a show of David's metal art at the Tennessee State
Museum--unfortunately, David Wasserman died in October, 1999, shortly
before the exhibit opened. The pictures received attention and praise,
and another Nashville show was mounted in 2003.
Steven created web site devoted to David's work, and recently published
a comprehensive, full-catalog of his work. For further information and
to see a listing of upcoming shows, visit David
Green Designs that Work at Work
Good news--more green designs are popping up in unexpected places, or
should we say, in places where they should be showing up? Here
are a few new choices proving that products, both good for you and good
for the planet, are becoming available in the business world.
Herman Miller's New Desk Chair
The innovative Mirra desk chair is designed for
comfort and re-usability.
Many of us who spend a lot of time in office chairs know that it is
difficult to find one that's comfortable, let alone earth friendly. The
Herman Miller company recently introduced its newest design, the Mirra
desk chair, which is both eco-friendly and ergonomic. A product of
four years of research and development, the chair can be adjusted to
fit a wide range of body types and positions. (The name, Mirra, refers
to the way the chair mirrors the sitter's movement in all positions.)
The chair is made of a minimal number of parts -- many have recycled content --
up to 96% of Mirra's materials can be recycled at the end of its useful life.
The Mirra costs $640-$980. It is available two frame colors and 10 seat color choices
including tangerine, terra cotta, deep green, and citron. To locate
stores, call 800-851-1196 or visit www.hermanmiller.com.
The company, which currently has 26 additional eco-friendly chairs in its
collection, continues to develop other environmentally friendly
Office Depot's Eco-Friendly Office Products
Office Depot, one of the largest resellers of office products, has
compiled "The Green Book Catalog" of environmentally preferable
products for its Business Services Division contract customers. The
catalog itself walks the walk. Printed on chlorine free, 100%
post-consumer waste recycled content paper, it contains 1,348 products:
mostly paper-based office supplies, remanufactured ink cartridges,
trash cans and trash can liners. Catalogs are available for companies
through Office Depot reps.
Consumers without business contracts can purchase eco-friendly products
in their local Office Depot store and on
their online catalog.
The company continues to add products with
recycled content to their stock. It also exclusively uses a house brand
copy paper containing 35% post-consumer waste for all copy machines in
copy and print centers in all their 870 stores.
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