As an artist who has sewn poetry into the sleeves of used clothing and built castles from bricks of hair pulled from old wigs, Agustina Woodgate is no stranger to the treasures to be found in thrift stores. For her new solo exhibit at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, "Rugs," the Miami artist collected hundreds of teddy bears found abandoned in thrift shops, peeled off their soft fabric and Frankensteined their skins into colorful area rugs. If that sounds morbid, well, Woodgate says that's the point.
"We take a zebra's skin and put him in the middle of our living rooms, and we think that's normal," Woodgate says. "I wanted to create that confusion: Did I create a rug from a real teddy bear or from real bears? Because every single country in the world understands the meaning of a teddy bear."
Seven of her teddy-bear-skin rugs, measuring between 6 1/2 feet and 18 feet, will adorn the walls of the Hollywood museum. The rugs resemble Rorschach inkblots, galaxy star clusters and an unruly ocean.
"I created rugs because they're an archetype of the East, where they were invented 4,000 years before Christ. Now, they're mass-produced in the East and sent to the West," Woodgate says. "They are symbols of comfort, but also symbols of storytelling."
"Agustina Woodgate: Rugs" exhibit runs until May 25 at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St. Admission is $4-$7. Call 954-921-3274 or go to ArtandCultureCenter.org.