Tired of throwing out the nearly 4 credit card solicitations he would receive each week, artist Jeremiah Johnson began to use them to construct model houses, examining the promises of big companies to grant the wishes and desires of consumers. Since the invention of email, you would expect the level of junk mail to recede. Yet without fail almost every household in the country can expect to find a mountain of clutter inside their mailboxes.
Since 1997, Johnson was looking for something to do with the unopened credit card applications that would find their way to him through the mail each week. He floated ideas of taping them together to make a painting or signing up for the cards, maxing them out, and moving off to an island far off in the Pacific. It wasn’t until 2010 after several rejections to obtain a loan that he started constructing houses. Currently, he is up to 10 structures, each composed of applications left “as is” in order to thumb his nose at the companies. There is no need to sign his work, as his name and various resident addresses are printed all over the envelopes.
At a time where credit default swaps and misdeeds by the credit card giants have put many people’s mortgages underwater, Johnson’s work strikes a painful chord with many viewers. Lured by the promises of companies that work in their own best interest instead of serving their clients, the paper homes feel as solid and secure as their real-life counterparts.
You can see Johnson’s work at the 69th Regiment Armory (25th Street ad Lexington) in NYC as a part of the Fountain Art Show running from March 8 to 10.