John Salvest uses found objects in sculptural compositions that engage seriality, taxonomy, and an aesthetics of outmoded or discarded utilitarian goods—rubber stamps, tablet pharmaceuticals, chewed gum, wine corks, and pennies. Salvest’s sculptures take up the conceptual style derived from avant-garde, early 20th-century movements like Dada and Fluxus, but are revised by the introduction of materials that distinctly evoke a mid-century American sensibility, a gesture that questions the supposed neutrality of conceptual art. His public installations, using shipping containers, backlit marquee signs, and other readymade materials, similarly complicate urban spaces and the viewer’s expectations of objective landscapes.
Salvest’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Phoenix Art Museum, New York’s New Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City’s Grand Arts, St. Louis’s Contemporary Art Museum, Nashville’s Cheekwood Museum of Art, Memphis’s Brooks Museum of Art, and the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock. He has completed public projects for the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in Memphis and at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Salvest lives and works in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where he is a professor in the art department at Arkansas State University.
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