DEANNA McLAUGHLIN: à la cart
Philadelphia artist Deanna McLaughlin has been repurposing abandoned shopping carts into furniture since 2008. McLaughlin said, “I derive pleasure through the design challenge,” as her ongoing series reinvents the iconic cart into various forms of seating including chairs, chaises, and sofas. The reconfigured shopping carts are embellished with additional found and recycled materials including fabric, neckties, leather belts, and cushions infusing each chair with its unique characteristics.
The artwork is functional and playful, yet conversely for McLaughlin, shopping carts represent “the arc of consumer culture” and cultural inequity as those “that have,” fill up their carts with goods while those “that have not,” might use carts to transport and house their belongings. She said, “My work is a way of processing the world around us and the irony of our culture.”
McLaughlin’s prior experience in the field of mental health has inspired her to give back. Any purchase from the series that she calls Cartrageous, a portion of the proceeds are donated to Feast Incarnate, a local soup kitchen that provides healthy meals served to seated guests as opposed to the traditional cafeteria-style of service.