Lay on hands: Interactive art show features trashy altars

The Brooklyn Paper
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This show has a touch of the divine.

A Crown Heights exhibit of interactive sculptures includes a series of altars made from garbage. “The Sublime of the Mundane,” opening July 19 at the Five Myles, features work that provokes visitors into reaching out to the art, or to each other. Some pieces blend high art with low materials, including dumpsters covered with elaborate wallpaper.

“It is about taking another look at what we value,” said show curator Jasmine Murrell, who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

The altar sculptor spent years gathering cigarette butts, crack vials, and spent lottery tickets off of the sidewalk to incorporate into her creations. The result, said Shellyne Rodriguez, is somewhere between the Garden of Eden and a burning Bronx tenement.

“My work is dancing around the tensions between hope and despair,” said Rodriguez. “It is about the life and death in each of those moments.”

Rodriguez encourages visitors to spend time reflecting on her religious sculptures. One altar (pictured) is made from a copper-plated milk crate, and it hangs high above a pile of a pennies. Rodriguez hopes visitors will pause before the altar while adding their own pennies, like tossing a coin into a wishing well.

“When you put something in front of them you are asking them to interact with, you are asking them to slow down,” said Rodriguez. “And it is such a rarity today that you have to take a moment to slow down. It is a commitment.”

The Sublime of the Mundane” at Five Myles [558 St. Johns Pl. between Classon and Franklin avenues in Crown Heights, (718) 783–4438,]. July 19 at 5 pm. Free. Show runs through Aug. 23.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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