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At His Latest Exhibition, Misha Kahn Talks Trash

The Brooklyn artist used found and noble materials to create the objects in “Midden Heap,” his second solo show at Friedman Benda.

The Brooklyn artist used found and noble materials to create the objects in “Midden Heap,” his second solo show at Friedman Benda.

Misha Kahn’s most recent show is trash—literally. Each work is made of objects the 27-year-old found during excursions at Dead Horse Bay in the Rockaways, where garbage accumulates in mounds along the shoreline. Fused with cast bronze, blown glass, tack-welding, and scrap metal from a Bushwick junkyard, his democratic use of materials results in brash, vibrant objects that toe the line between past and future. But don’t be fooled by its quirky exterior—the exhibition marks something of a turning point for Kahn, whose Willy Wonka signatures (Candy Land colors, distorted shapes, balloon-like cement furniture) are still here, but presented in a more knowing, self-referential way that questions conventions of beauty and culture. Kahn took Surface on a tour of the exhibition, “Midden Heap”—on view at New York’s Friedman Benda gallery through Dec. 16—and discussed the ideas, emotions, and thingamajigs wrapped up inside it.

Opening photo: Dan Kukla. Courtesy Friedman Benda and Misha Kahn.

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