Arts & Life, Events, Features

Fourth Streets’ latest art installation is a heap of garbage, literally

The Dark Art Emporium gallery debuted a new exhibition titled “TRASH” on March 13th. The immersive experience takes guests through a plastic trash bag barrier and into a dimly lit alley littered with garbage.

Paintings hung from the walls against a backdrop of cardboard coated in spray paint and sculptures sit atop tables that look as if they have been picked up at the local landfill. Stacked wooden pallets doubling as benches further added to the immersive experience.

Art enthusiasts spent the evening wading through crumpled newspapers while admiring the unique art. Pieces such as “Feral Queen” by Kristen Ferrell and “іди нахуй (Go fuck yourself)” by William Zdan repurposed discarded glass bottles as canvasses for acrylic and oil.

In a similar vein, gallery director Jeremy Cross contributed his own piece which upcycled a splintered skateboard deck into an oil painting.

A Long Beach safety ambassador stops by to enjoy the TRASH installation.
A Long Beach safety ambassador stops by to enjoy the TRASH installation. Photo credit: Sebastian Perez

Taking it one step further, Daniel Saks created his sculpture “Merciless Soul Harvester” out of an array of items one would expect to find in a recycling bin, not an art gallery. Aside from the garbage, Saks used bolts and hot glue to secure the sculpture along with acrylic and enamel primer for the paint job.

“Vacuformed berry containers, tofu containers, a laundry bottle top, pringle packaging, about forty water bottle caps,” said Saks as he began to list the objects he used.

Saks, who is a set designer and builder by trade, creates art under the name Das Machina, which is a reference to both the plot device Deus ex machina and his initials.

He first began building machines when making replicas of machines from Universal’s “Frankenstein” movies that were released in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Saks met Cross, the gallery director, while displaying his replicas at a tradeshow. Since then, Saks has been part of multiple Dark Art Emporium installations.

Dark Art Emporium originally opened at 3rd and Elm in 2016 by Jeremy Schott. In 2019, Schott opened “The 4th Horseman,” a downtown Long Beach bar known for its delicious specialty pizzas. Within a year the adjoining location became vacant allowing Schott to use the bar as a speakeasy-type entrance for his art gallery.

Dark Art Emporium hosts about 8-10 themed installations a year but also features a variety of art and oddities available for purchase.

While the gallery does accept submissions, most of the work featured is created by artists who are found and invited by curator, Jeremy Cross. He said that it is a goal of his when creating these installations to “create an environment that is intriguing to the patrons and reflects the themes we are pushing with shows.”

“We wanted to make it feel like you were walking into a dingy alley way and the artworks were scattered around like secrets for you to find,” Cross said.

“TRASH” will run through the end of April is located within The 4th Horsemen which is a 21+ bar.

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