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Magic Carpet

Normally, we’d gasp at the idea of tearing up a rug—especially a Flokati, that fluffy, textural beauty handmade in tiny Greek villages—but if the result looked like these sculptural “paintings” by New York artist Anna Betbeze, we might be willing to whip out the scissors.

A Yale University School of Art grad and now teacher, Betbeze shreds, cuts, shaves, and burns her blank canvas, then saturates it with beet juice, acid dye, Manic Panic hair coloring, and other dyes to mimic organic materials like moss, foliage, and fungus, or even spring regrowth and blooms. The finished piece is hung from nails on walls, allowing it to sag and droop to the floor, where it takes on the appearance of a lush, albeit wonky, abstract painting . . . or, as the Huffington Post  memorably put it, “They kind of resemble a muppet carcass.”

Which is appropriate, since Betbeze—who has exhibited in major cities including Berlin, Helsinki, London, and Los Angeles—describes her process as the death of one object and its rebirth as something new. We love her originality and color sense, and her ability to project hope and anticipation from something that at first glance appears worn-out, lonely, and a little sad. We’re even more excited that Betbeze is showing new work, through November 5, at one of our favorite galleries, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Don’t miss out!



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