Brent Birnbaum makes some interesting sculptures. He always has a vast supply of pop cultural ephemera on hand to manipulate into lasting works of art. We caught up with Brent and he agreed to answer all our questions and explain why his girlfriend wasn’t thrilled about his used condom collection.
Tell us about how you make your art. What’s your process: I have dozens of boxes filled with objects I am attracted to such as rainbow colored dominos and flavored Philly blunt containers – which are bright colored plastic corresponding to the flavor! I also have 30 or so boxes at my motherâ€™s house in Dallas. Occasionally, I force her to find something and ship it. Recently I received an old Wheaties box with Jordan on it. Of course I donâ€™t need it now. I am equally attracted to random things in pop culture that strike me as being ridiculous like 50 cent having a grape flavored Vitamin Water or accusations of SpongeBobâ€™s homosexual activity with Patrick. I then use my collection of found materials to start building my own narrative based on these current events such as 50 cent being the new Dionysus or creating BlackBob SaggyPants.
Who is your Art for? First myself, but then everyone else. I am satisfied with life if I am making something, but if no one ever saw it, Iâ€™d be bored.
What is your Art supposed to do? MOVE THE MASSES! Or one person in the direction of laughter, delight, disgustâ€¦
What is your art worth? Most recently: $2,555.50.
What single work of art would you most like to destroy? None. We learn from the bad, but maybe a recent Damien Hirst painting in front of him and Larry.
Name one crappy “Artist”: Pierre Manzoni (get it?) Now name another one: Wim Delvoye (double get it?)
Best museum: The Met Worst museum: Iâ€™m â€œdrawingâ€ a blank.
Describe the finest moment of your artistic endeavors: In 2003 at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, I had my used condom collection on display, which totaled 58. It was for a World Aids Day show. The opening was the last time I spoke to my then girlfriend of 2 years. I donâ€™t think she liked the piece.
NOW GET DOWN AND GIVE US 19
1. Favorite ANIMAL: Zebras and leopards for their patterns and llamas and giraffes because they look so fucking goofy.
2. What gets you excited? Very colorful overwhelming things.
3. Worst Job: Mana Fine Art – an art handler job or so I thought â€“ I quit after packing up some rich bitchâ€™s clothes on Long Island which included a $300 black scarf – the tag was still on! Dream job: Talent scout for Playboy
4. Best kept secret about NYC: Biking at night through Times Square â€“ it is empty like in Vanilla Sky
5. What would you do if you found A LOT of cash in a cab? Put it in my pocket.
6. Favorite website: superbad.com Most embarrassing favorite website: I really am to shy to say.
7. Early bird or night owl? Whootie Whoo!
8. Motto, mantra, words of advice, or favorite quote: Kill Your TV.
9. Name your favorite ISM. Materialism.
10. If you invented a recreational drug, what would it be called? Colossal.
11. What’s the greatest thing the internet has given mankind? Easy research on anything.
12. Who owes you something? Amy Beecher owes me a work of art as does Brian Gahona.
13. How would you run the zoo? I would rearrange the animals by colors.
14. How do you kill time? With my switchblade comb.
15. Favorite watering hole: My courtyard.
16. Are you looking for anyone you’ve lost contact with? (maybe we could help.) Yes! Amanda, 28 years old, fashion designer, from Houston, went to Texas A&M (I donâ€™t know her last name)
17. Do you need anything really bad? Time.
18. Any tips for the kids? Be yourself.
19. Shout outs: Hi Maxine and K-dog (llama llama llama).