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Jay, Bill

Cameras reconstituted as art pieces (C.R.A.P.)

Additional Title(s):



United States, 1970s?
Physical Description:
5 melted cameras, mounted on glass : plastic, metal, glass ; mounts 30 x 39 cm to 31 x 67 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Flat C 2023 1
Yale Center for British Art, Gift of Joy of Giving Something, Inc.
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
The pieces are accompanied by a reproduction of "Camera cook-out: how to make strange and attractive wall pieces by melting cameras on a barbecue grill. [By] Bill Jay" (typescript, [5] pages), copied from an original in the Bill Jay History of Photography Collection, at the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona (item AG184:36/13). The typescript provides detailed instructions on the process, which includes: the selecting of "cheap cameras" ("An unlimited supply will be found in local thrift stores. Average prices 49c, to $1.99 each"); dismantling of cameras; rearranging of parts ("Be creative. There is no need to duplicate the original configuration of parts"); and grilling, on a cookie sheet, over a bed of charcoal briquettes. Jay notes: "Cameras, as a rule, are not very colorful. Black and silver predominate. You can add colorful backgrounds to the camera parts by using plastic trays, lids and cut up bottles." Jay also encourages the addition of "flash guns, old (even used) flash bulbs, and other accessaries [sic]." Jay insists on the use of quality gas mask, as protection from noxious plastic fumes. In much of the description, Jay refers to the compositions as "splats."
The numbering of pieces in this description is supplied by the cataloger, for ease of reference.
Piece no. 1 (on glass mount, 31 x 67 cm) includes two components. At left is a melted Polaroid Land Camera, with the addition of blue plastic (for color). The composition at right is composed of various smaller parts, including film canisters and film rolls (Kodak Ektachrome 400 HC), blue flash bulbs, and the reflector of a flash gun.
Piece no. 2 (on blue glass mount, 37 x 49 cm) features an unidentified camera, in white, red, and black plastic, with camera strap intact. The back of the camera has embossed instructions for taking "daylight pictures" and "flash pictures."
Piece no. 3 (on glass mount, 30 x 39 cm) features an unidentified camera, in dark gray plastic. Melted red plastic has been added as a background.
Piece no. 4 (on glass mount 30 x 39 cm) features an unidentified camera, in black plastic. Includes flash gun, with large reflector.
Piece no. 5 (on dark gray glass mount, 30 x 41 cm) features a Hi-Speed Insta Load camera, with flash reflector. The body is primarily black plastic. The front face bears a faux woodgrain veneer. White plastic has been added as a background.
Restricted fragile material. Use requires permission of the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.
Five melted camera works by Bill Jay, part of Jay's series Cameras Reconstituted as Art Pieces (C. R. A. P.) There are an additional 12 such works in the Bill Jay History of Photography Collection (AG 184) at the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona (see the series: Realia, objects, artifacts, n.d. 1960-1993 (AG184:3)).
Subject Terms:
Polaroid Land camera.
Cameras (photographic equipment)
Instant cameras.
Camera accessories.
Camera components.
Flash attachments.
Jay, Bill. Camera cook-out.

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