Roberta Smith, chief art critic of the New York Times, wrote an article this week about what she called "inadvertent galleries" of "not-quite-art" -- in other words, visually striking or beautiful things that you come upon as you walk about the city. She pointed out that recent developments in art, such as conceptual art, land art, process art and minimalism, have expanded what we think of as the realm of art.
"These movements permanently enlarged art’s footprint and blurred its borders, greatly increasing the number of accidental artworks available for appreciation by expanding our ability to appreciate them," Smith wrote. "In other words, as art has become more like life, life has become more peppered with things and experiences that offer some of the sensory and even intellectual pleasures of art."
She goes on to list several "almost artworks" in Manhattan that she loves, including a secluded parking lot, the scaffoldlike structures of a construction site, a stucco wall with rough and beautiful trowel patterns and the illuminated spaces in a subway concourse made for ads but currently occupied only by colored plastic.
I was delighted to read this article because I too love to find things that might qualify as art. I like to think of my "found art" in a slightly different way: that if you saw it displayed in an art setting, you would be perfectly happy to accept it as art rather than a closeup photo of the side of a dumpster, to name just one of my favorite places to look for found art.
Here are some examples of my found art; it's one of my favorite genres. If you like this kind of photo too, send me a copy ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) and I'll post it!