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Casual Labor 

When: Feb. 21-March 29 2008

There's a logical contradiction in kids' art projects fashioned from recyclables and hot glue, as dragooned parental curators know; they simply defer the inevitable. Casual Labor, at the Kala Art Institute, offers a tongue-in-cheek solution: recyclable art. These funky assemblages of building materials, toys, and other bric-a-brac, "material collaborations," to use curator Lauren Davies' term, are wonderfully eccentric, ingenious artworks (by humorous adults, of course) that could be easily repurposed for everyday nonart world use: they're contingent yet insouciant, like Kafka's Odradek, a ragged but cheerful bundle of scraps. The patio Arte Povera and stalagmite of sneakers in the photos of Alex Clausen, the forlorn-furniture conceptualism of Zachary Royer Schotz, and the woodshop postminimalism of Kirk Stoller -- they're all worth admiring before the entropic diaspora. Through March 29 at the Kala Art Institute (1060 Heinz Ave., Berkeley). Kala.org or 510-549-2977.


— DeWitt Cheng

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