What is Here is Open: Selections from the Treasures in the Trash Collection



Curated by Alicia Grullón and Nelson Molina
Organized by Arden Sherman, Raymond Codrington, Nora Maité Nieves, Maggie Lee.

Participating Artists: Tomie Arai, Dominique Duroseau, Maria Hupfield, Coronado Print Collective (Pepe Coronado, Leslie Jiménez and Carlos Jesus Martinez Dominguez), Shellyne Rodríguez

June 26 - September 14, 2019
Hunter East Harlem Gallery


For over 30 years, Nelson Molina worked for the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) as a sanitation worker. His regular pick up routes were in Manhattan 11, a district bordered by 96th and 106th Streets between First and Fifth Avenues. While he worked, he collected discarded objects. As he amassed over 40,000 items, Molina created the Treasures in the Trash Collection, a museum inside DSNY’s garage on 99th Street. Each piece in the collection preserves and represents a moment in time, recovered by Molina’s sense of the importance of place, sustainability, and community.

What is Here is Open: Selections from the Treasures in the Trash Collection places works by seven New York City-based contemporary artists alongside Molina’s found objects. Molina and curator Alicia Grullón have chosen pieces from the Treasures in the Trash Collection to accompany the contemporary artists’ works, creating unique, site-specific installations within the gallery.

Most of the discarded items in Molina’s museum were collected in and around his local neighborhood of East Harlem, and What is Here is Open seeks to engage in a dialogue on the past, present, and future identity of this community. In so doing, it blurs the lines between art, memory, and archive, and takes on both an anthropological and artistic resolve that rests in the community’s vision of itself. The resulting project emphasizes the artistic and curatorial processes of those who make, those who collect, and those who arrange, engaging the similarities among these actions.

What is Here is Open: Selections from the Treasures in the Trash Collection is organized by Arden Sherman and Nora Maité Nieves at Hunter East Harlem Gallery; Raymond Codrington at Hi-ARTS; and Maggie Lee at the Foundation for New York’s Strongest at DSNY. Support for this exhibition is generously provided by Hi-ARTS, the Foundation for New York’s Strongest, and Hunter College.

Exhibition Webpage.


© A—S


New York, New York