So much dirt but not enough soil

Knockdown Center

Queens, NY

 July 9 - August 7, 2016


Subway socks, soap

12 x 13 x 5 in.

landfowl, waterfowl, gamefowl

birdseed, corn syrup, Jello, flour, corn husks, ribbon

dimensions variable


au natural

soap, calcium propionate, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbet, corn husks, 3-methyl butanoic (the smell of body odor)

28 x 36 x 1 in.

cafe con leche con pants

soap, coffee, hair extensions, chewed Nicorette gum, Forever 21 jeans

28 x 36 x 1 in.


so much dirt

soap, HD makeup, Smirnoff Ice, cigarette ash

28 x 36 x 1 in.

first body

Financial Times newspaper (shredded and pulped), body hair

17 x 22 in.        



Financial Times (pulped), earl gray tea, band aids

17 x 22 in.

GRDN Doc's® Organocide® All Natural Plant Feritlizer: Prescription Formula 1 + Prescription Formula 2

custom plant food (worm poop, Bud Light Lime, free range egg shells, Los Angeles tap water, fish bones, volcanic ash, seaweed, Yogi Pure Green Tea, aquarium water), gargoyles, 5 gallon beverage dispensers

24 x 18 x 40 in.

coney island white fish

Introduction to Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman (shredded and pulped), beach trash, seaweed

17 x 22 in.

print my DNA when you get there

credit report (pulped), vitamin D, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) therapy lamp, watermark

9 x 6 x 12 in.

GRDN Doc's® Organocide® All Natural Plant Feritlizer: Prescription Formula 3

custom plant food (clam shells, free range egg shells, New York tap water, weed ash, live active culture l. acidophilus, liquid THC, ginkgo biloba), gargoyles, 5 gallon beverage dispensers

12 x 12 x 48 in.

I am what I eat eats

Medicaid manual, crushed Xanax, dried roses, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) therapy lamp, watermark

16 x 9 x 29 in.

Let’s Move! 

Index of American Grown by Michelle Obama (pulped), Subway wrappers, GM corn husks

17 x 22 in.


private island

‘Pacific trash vortex’ Wikipedia article (shredded and pulped), beach trash

17 x 22 in.


wargame terrain board

wood, cinder blocks, soil, foam, plaster, miniatures, water bottles, genetically modified food plants, Mars surface prints on vinyl, canned beans, Subway wrapper, Miracle Grow

96 x 72 x 27 in.

So much dirt but not enough soil

on view July 9 - August 7, 2016

Knockdown Center

52-19 Flushing Ave.

Queens, NY 11378



New York based artists Loney Abrams and Johnny Stanish have taken interest in the relationships between an object’s outward appearance, and the object’s intrinsic material makeup — it’s ingredients list, it’s nutritional value, it’s metadata — and the potential for this material to embody FDA politics. So Much Dirt But Not Enough Soil utilizes materials like Miracle Grow, live active culture l. acidophilus, liquid THC, the introduction to Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman (shredded and pulped), yellow #5, ginkgo biloba, Flavor Dynamics’ CHEF-ASSIST® Harvest Spice Flavoring, 3-methyl butanoic acid (the smell of body odor), crushed Adderrol, aspartame, among others.


The exhibition is held within the remains of a century-old stone building, which encompasses three separate rooms, one of which has no roof and is exposed to the elements. Soap wall pieces cast in relief, potentially lathered by rain and humidity, match one another in form, while their varied material makeups describe a society that tends to overprescribe and sanitize. A miniature wargame terrain board suggests a terraformed mars. Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) lamps act as light boxes to illuminate handmade watermarked paper. Dispensers filled with DIY plant food include ingredients like worm poop and Bud Lite Lime. And images that link Michelle Obama’s partnership with Subway and her White House garden initiatives are intermixed with Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa seeds deregulated by the very same Obama Administration, in handmade paper wall pieces.


Not unlike the consumer’s experience in the grocery store, where food products are accompanied by text listing ingredients and nutritional value (along with marketing copy), the art consumer is presented with language — title, date, dimensions, materials, a press release — that may reveal meaning illegible in the work itself. In the bread aisle, two loaves of bread may look nearly identical in form, but to the discerning consumer, their ancillary texts reveal two distinct products in support of vastly differing production methods, political economies, and consequences: one ingredients list reads ‘flour, water, yeast, salt’ while the other lists fourteen ingredients, more than half of which are names of chemical compounds. This ancillary text places the ethical burden on the consumer to make the right choice; rather than find an alternative to plastic, Poland Spring urges their customers to recycle their bottles. We’ve learned that the products we consume, whether food, drugs, or hygienic products, are defined not by what they appear to be but by what they are made of and how they are produced; they are intrinsically political. In the same way that we can no longer assume a wall piece is made of paint and canvas, we’re both burdened and enlightened by the text, or metadata, that accompany the objects that surround us.