kottke.org posts about Nelson Molina

MoCAT: the Musuem of Contemporary Art TrashJul 24 2012

NYC Sanitation Department employee Nelson Molina has curated a makeshift museum of trash gathered by Molina and other sanitation workers over the past 20 years.

Mr. Molina, 58, a lifelong New Yorker and a sanitation worker since 1981, began collecting pictures and trinkets along his route about 20 years ago, he said, to brighten up his corner of the garage locker room. Gradually, his colleagues on East 99th Street began to contribute, gathering up discarded gems they thought he might enjoy. As the collection grew, word spread, and workers from other boroughs started to drop off contributions from time to time. Next, building superintendents along Mr. Molina's route started putting things aside they thought he could use.

Today, he estimates he has close to 1,000 pieces in his collection, arranged with great thoughtfulness, and even humor, in an enormous open room against cream-colored brick. (He painted the walls, mixing together beige, ivory, white and every other light-colored paint he and his colleagues could find, he explained, so that the pictures would pop.)

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