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Get an Up-Close Look at a Toilet Seat Art Museum

While there are plenty of museums devoted to everyday items and objects, this has got to be one of the strangest: In San Antonio, Texas, a retired master plumber has created a bizarre roadside attraction known as Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Art Museum.

As BoingBoing reports, director Wes Plate made a short film about the museum, which opened in 1992 and showcases more than 1200 toilet seats-turned-pieces of art. The toilet seats serve as the canvas for Smith’s work, which focuses on important historical and sporting events, notable celebrity tributes, general pop culture, and American patriotism. The 95-year-old Texan has been an artist for most of his life, but fell into the family business of plumbing as a full-time career. It was during one fateful trip to a local plumbing supplier that Smith found the inspiration for what would become his artistic obsession.

"I went to a plumbing supply house one time, and they had about 50 toilet seats out on the dock that they were going to throw away,” Smith told Roadside America. “And I said [to the guy] 'What are you going to do with those toilet seats. I would like to have some of these toilet seats to do some art on.' I'd been going down to the River Walk and doing a little art on canvas. He said, 'Well, you can't have 'em, unless you take the hinge off, and throw away half of 'em while you're here.' I threw the rim away and kept the lid."

Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Art Museum is located at 239 Abiso Avenue in San Antonio, Texas. It’s open to the public, and if you donate your own toilet seat, Smith will engrave your name on it as part of his artwork. (Just make sure the toilet seat is clean before you hand it over!)

You can watch Plate’s film below.

[h/t BoingBoing]

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Art
A Beached Whale Sculpture Popped Up on the Banks of Paris's Seine River
Original image
iStock

In Paris, dozens of fish varieties live in the Seine River. Now, the Associated Press reports that the famous waterway is home to a beached whale.

Rest assured, eco-warriors: The sperm whale is actually a lifelike sculpture, installed on an embankment next to Notre Dame Cathedral by Belgian artists’ collective Captain Boomer. It’s meant to raise environmental awareness, and evoke "the child in everyone who still is puzzled about what is real and what is not,” collective member Bart Van Peel told the Associated Press.

The 65-foot sculpture has reportedly startled and confused many Parisians, thanks in part to a team of fake scientists deployed to “survey” the whale. One collective member even posted a video on social media, warning Parisians that there “may be others in the water” if they opt to take a dip in the river, The Local reported.

The whale sculpture is only temporary—but as for Captain Boomer, this isn’t their first whale-related stunt. Last summer, the collective installed a similar riverside artwork in Rennes, France, and they also once strapped a large-scale whale sculpture to the back of a truck and drove it around France.

[h/t Associated Press]

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Artist Makes Colorful Prints From 1990s VHS Tapes

A collection of old VHS tapes offers endless crafting possibilities. You can use them to make bird houses, shelving units, or, if you’re London-based artist Dieter Ashton, screen prints from the physical tape itself.

As Co.Design reports, the recent London College of Communication graduate was originally intrigued by the art on the cover of old VHS and cassette tapes. He planned to digitally edit them as part of a new art project, but later realized that working with the ribbons of tape inside was much more interesting.

To make a print, Ashton unravels the film from cassettes and VHS tapes collected from his parents' home. He lets the strips fall randomly then presses them into tight, tangled arrangements with the screen. The piece is then brought to life with vibrant patterns and colors.

Ashton has started playing with ways to incorporate themes and motifs from the films he's repurposing into his artwork. If the movie behind one of his creations isn’t immediately obvious, you can always refer to its title. His pieces are named after movies like Backdraft, Under Siege, and that direct-to-video Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen classic Passport to Paris.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Dieter Ashton

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