Department of Public Works Brooch

  • Boris Bally, Department of Public Works Brooch, 1994, aluminum, beads, resin, paint, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Zack Peabody, 2000.62.2A-C

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Boris Bally believes that “[our] resources on this planet are finite,” and that “the best test of an artist is how well we [sic] can use what we have . . .” These brooches are doubly recycled, made from the scraps of abandoned traffic signs that he has used in his larger sculptures. By treating the traffic signs as he would gold or silver, Bally allows them to “transcend their dirty roots” and become objects of beauty rather than symbols of authority. The titles underscore Bally’s ideas by reminding us of the source of his materials.

Department of Public Works Brooch
On View
Not on view.
overall: 1 3/4 x 4 3/4 x 5/8 in. (4.4 x 12.0 x 1.5 cm)
A (brooch): 1 3/4 x 4 3/4 x 1/2 in. (4.4 x 12.0 x 1.3 cm)
B (clasp): 1/4 x 3/8 in. (.7 x 1.0 cm) diam.
C (clasp): 1/4 x 3/8 in. (.7 x 1.0 cm) diam.
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Zack Peabody

Object Number
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