*all images featured in this post are from the website of Valerie Hegarty
I don’t know too much about Valerie Hegarty. In fact, I just discovered her work last Saturday. I was on the fifth floor of the Brooklyn Museum when I turned a corner and saw a landscape painting disintegrating before my eyes. The piece looked charred, hanging crookedly on the wall, some of its remains in a pile on the floor, as if waiting for something to sweep it up.
‘What happened here?’ I asked the security guard.
‘Art happened,’ he answered, grinning intensely.
Okay, so that conversation never did happen. But Hegarty’s piece did take me by surprise, not only as something I’ve never seen before but also something I’ve never conceived of seeing in a museum.
I went home to look up more of her work and began to notice Hegarty’s modus operandi. Many of her works feature a reproduction of a preexisting painting as the central component. Then comes the fun part.
In each example, the central painting is being destroyed (or in one sense, reclaimed) by whatever force of nature had initially been stolen. Niagara Falls looks as though it had been hurled into the waterfalls themselves. Rothko Sunset looks as though it had been baking in the sun. Hegarty can get even cheekier with her use of nature, both artificial with the incorporation of the woodpecker, or real in the case of displaying outdoors on the High Line in Manhattan (yes, that is real snow!).