Alibi V.28 No.20 • May 16-22, 2019 

Art Magnified

Throwing It All Away

McGoldrick’s dumpster full of clouds

More Clouds to Come at Pueblo Montaño Trailhead
More Clouds to Come at Pueblo Montaño Trailhead
photo by Clarke Condé

Lance Ryan McGoldrick’s piece More Clouds to Come is a disappointment to anyone trying to throw something out. Approaching any dumpster is not exactly a thrill, but maybe if you were walking along the path by the river, and then back to your car at the Pueblo Montaño Trailhead with an empty cup in your hand, it might be a welcome sight. McGoldrick’s dumpster will offer you no comfort in that task. You will be denied. It does not work as a dumpster. You will leave this dumpster full-handed.

McGoldrick’s dumpster is full of clouds. It is an installation that is part of ArtPark 21, an ecologically-centered, still-evolving idea to bring contemporary sculpture to Albuquerque’s Open Space. A reflective top has replaced the dumpster’s hole. Jump the wire to peer in and you will only see yourself and the sky. Otherwise, it is just a rusty old dumpster that doesn’t even really look out of place here at the edge of a path down into the Bosque. Maybe it should. Maybe that is the point.

Sometimes contemporary art can be tricky to comprehend. This isn’t one of those times. The viewer need only cast their gaze 50 yards away, just beyond the sign that says, “Please PACK OUT ALL TRASH Thank You” to the trash can at the parking lot’s edge crammed full of empty cans, bottles and wrappers. There is all kinds of bullshit in there: used diapers, plastic snacky packs, a Modelo tallboy. None of which sprouted out of the ground and all of which could easily go right back out the way it came in, as directed.

“Willful waste makes woeful want” or so says the Scottish proverb written around the same time Pedro de Alvarado first laid boots on the Rio Grande Valley where McGoldrick’s dumpster now sits. Another sign at the trailhead reminds us of his role in Coronado’s expedition, marking a reasonably decent starting point for the trashing of this very same river valley. The sign by McGoldrick’s non-functional dumpster reminds us of the history of dumping in the Rio Grande and prompts us to consider, “Why isn’t the way we dispose of things more thoughtful? Why is there waste at all?” It is a fair question. It’s a good thing we still have places like the Bosque to contemplate questions like that.

More Clouds to Come

by Lance Ryan McGoldrick
Exhibit runs through October 2019
Pueblo Montaño Trailhead
4100 Montaño Rd. NW
Free