Disappearing Ink, 2014

An exhibition of printed ephemera recording our stories, history and cultural memory. Print media is disappearing and being replaced by ever mutating digital media.

For more than 200 years news media have documented our histories. How will we capture our memories in 2050?

New Cornucopia and the Big IOU, 2011

IOU/USA was a temporary public art project addressing U.S. economic crisis located in city park adjacent to Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

A companion installation was presented simultaneously in the gallery of Grand Arts.

Kim Levin: Notes and Itineraries (1975-2005), 2008

Working notes of art critic Kim Levin on found paper, map tacks, dimensions variable.

Collaborative project conceived and designed by John Salvest involving the chronological arrangement of Levin's detailed working notes on found exhibition announcements.

Not everyone (can carry the weight of the world), 2012

During the fiftieth anniversary of James Meredith's historic enrollment at Ole Miss, John Salvest and Les Christensen collaborated on a sound installation referencing one man's courage, determination, and perseverance against impossible odds.

Consumo Ergo Sum, 2005

Miscellaneous plastic lids, 4″ x 168″ x 96″

Paper Trail, 2003

Shredded Enron Letterhead, 32″ x 34″ x 78″

Commission, 2003

Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, Memphis, Tennessee

Cast aluminum and paint. Dimensions variable.

Il Memoriale del Fango, 2007

Temporary street graffiti project commemorating the anniversary of the historic 1966 Florence flood.

The date of the disaster was stenciled with mud from the Arno in multiple locations throughout the city during a November 2007 residency.

Mud from the River Arno, Florence, Italy, 2 x 20 inch multiple.

Meditation 7.21, 1997

Forum for Contemporary Art, St. Louis, Missouri.

"Soon you will have forgotten the world and soon the world will have forgotten you."

FLY, 2002

Five black cables are stretched from one wall to another using porcelain wireholders at each end, giving the impression of high-tension lines in the landscape.

A few mounted sparrows are placed randomly on the lines, but toward the center there is a concentration of about twenty-five birds that are arranged to spell out the word "FLY."

Night Train, 2002

Twin bed, sheets, model train with sound component

Side By Side, Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee

Kindling, 1998

One thousand cast bronze sticks were scattered throughout the Smoky Hill River Festival grounds. Anyone who found one could keep it.

I thought of the bronze stick as working on several different levels. On one level it served as a game piece in a massive treasure hunt. On another it might serve as a memento of this year's festival. As a component in an artwork, I thought of it as functioning on both an actual and a symbolic level.

Kafka Kaffee Kalendar, 1992

Kansas City Artists Coalition, Kansas City, Missouri, May 1-30, 1992

“He was an artist and a man of such anxious conscience he could hear even where others, deaf, felt themselves secure.”

– Milena Jesenska's Obituary for Franz Kafka

Black River, 1993

Black River came to me in a flash in the summer of 1989 as I drove northbound alone on I–81 just south of Fall Branch, Tennessee, the coalescent product of some half-forgotten road song, a mind made receptive by fatigue and the dimming light, and the gnarled silhouette of a single tire fragment on the highway shoulder.

I pulled over, backed up, and retrieved the rubbery souvenir in the first of countless similar roadside rituals to be performed over the next three years.

Coffee Calendar, 1998

365 Used Coffee Filters, Date-Stamped and Arranged in Chronological Order, Paper, Glass, Wood, Steel Clips

Dimensions Variable

Smoke Free, 1998

Wood, Cigarette Butts

1/2″ x 148″ x 244″

Words To Live By, 1999

Dean B. Ellis Library, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas, January 1-March 5, 1999

“Whosoever strives unceasingly upward can be saved.” –Goethe

The Myth of Sisyphus, 1991

1354 standard concrete bricks were each stenciled with one word from the text of “The Myth of Sisyphus,” an essay by Albert Camus in which he compares Sisyphus to “the workman of today, whose fate is no less absurd.”

During the course of the exhibition/
performance I carried the bricks, three at a time, up 21 flights of stairs to the top story of the Lincoln American Tower in Memphis, Tennessee. The complete text was gradually laid out in readable form in a room overlooking the Mississippi River. Like Sisyphus' rock, the text was dismantled and the bricks returned to ground level.