Box with Unhidden Hair

Box with Unhidden Hair
1975, human hair inside a box made of Plexiglas, Masonite and wood
box: 4 1/4 x 4 x 6 1/8 in.; bag: 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.

During the early 1970's I had long hair. Those were hippie years so it was a common fashion for many guys. By 1975 however my hair was shoulder length and I decided to try a different look. So out came the scissors and after a rather hasty haircut I had a pile of hair. It seemed somehow wrong just to toss it in the trashcan so I gathered it up, put it in a bag, placed it on a closet shelf, and forgot about it.

A few months later, when thinking of Marcel Duchamp's piece With Hidden Noise (1916), the bag of hair strangely came to mind. My imagination and creativity set in and I decided to build a box for it. Because I did not want to completely hide the hair inside the box I chose to construct it out of a couple of pieces of Plexiglas along with wood and Masonite panels. When assembling the pieces I allowed tufts of hair to come out between the seams of the box. I also added one of my small collages behind one of the Plexiglas panels to incorporate another visual element. With the box complete I felt it needed protection from light and dust. To solve the problem I made a canvas bag with a string-tie closure.

It is a fun and quirky object that I have grown very fond of over the years. And as my current hair has turned gray, the hair in the box has remained a youthful dark reddish-brown.

- Brian Mains, 2018