Best Assemblagist

Susan Danis

That irresistibly friendly woman going through your garbage as intently as others peruse wine menus is no garden-variety bottle scavenger, but one of the Bay Area’s most wonderfully weird, funny, and large-spirited artists. Susan Danis regularly goes scrounging in junk stores (Thrift Town is a favorite haunt), flea markets, and garbage cans, as well as at the beach or on an urban hike, to find the oddball treasures (coral, animal teeth, antlers, plush toys, dolls, taxidermied animals, etc.) that she lovingly and laboriously assembles into hilariously absurd concatenations — surrealism without tears (or Paul McCarthy’s soiled-child creepiness). She writes: “I embrace the physical stuff of the world and love using it to create new vocabularies of form and meaning. My work is made with attention to detail and fine materials: toys, picked snakes and used shoe laces; hot pink feather boas, dentures, parakeet bells and garters; fresh water pearls, innards, freeze dried moles, and tentacles.”

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