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Christy Rupp, "Watershed Glassware", 2000

Christy Rupp

The work of New York based artist, Christy Rupp sparkles with wit and environmental information. Concerned with water issues, bacterial pathogens, urban ecology and genetically engineered foods, Rupp creates glassware, functional sculpture and public spaces populated with artificial wildlife.

There is a distinctly urban and consumerist current to her work which plays on our desire to buy and collect beautiful clever things, and uses this opportunity to educate. In one piece entitled "Red Tide", from 1992, she created steel framed turtles filled with recycled detergent bottles. "The shelves of our supermarkets abound with giddy optimism", she explains. "Natural phenomena like Dawn, Ivory Snow, Tide, Breeze, Era, & Surfenter [clean] our lives as we scrub our cocoons, helping us distance ourselves as generators of water pollution." Other turtle sculptures are filled with plastic bags, a common cause of death in sea turtles who mistake them for jellyfish.

Another project calls attention to genetically modified foods by creating "Fake Companies" and food packaging materials with labels that demand "TELL US WHAT WE ARE EATING" and list "Randomly Mutating Food" in the contents. This theme is further explored through metal framed insect sculptures containg "toxic pollen" and gmo birdseed.

Rupp's website includes a Products section with artworks presented as multiples including a necklace of glass beads in the shapes of common viruses and "rat posters" to wheatpaste around town. According to the artist, "Christy Rupp.com is a fictitious multinational corporation producing objects which make people think about the environment. Although many of the sculptures of my past work are available for purchase, these objects are produced as multiples, specifically for the website."

Set of 4 10 oz tumblers, shown above, filled with tap water from NYC. Commonly found protozoans Giardia & Cryptosporidium, a Swimming Duck leaving his droppings in a simulated reservoir, and some tanks of chlorine and fluoride adorn these objects, describing pollutants found in tap water. The glasses have images of \"perfectly harmless\" contaminants printed on them, to make consumers question how many parts per million is acceptable.

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