“Well, I kinda been a collector since I was a kid.” 


Assemblage artist Bobby Furst's studio/compound sits on the edge of the Joshua Tree National Monument. It is an artistic wonderland, filled with his creative works made from old industrial and household items, block lettering, musical instruments, weapons, helmets, signs, even a motorcycle, many of which express commentary on the tragedy of war and the state of the environment. Bobby turns objects upside down and inside out using color, form, texture, shape and words, inviting viewers to see familiar objects anew, thereby creating new worlds and new landscapes of language and image, to stimulate conversation about the social, political and environmental realities in our world today.

As a child, Bobby would roam the trails of his neighborhood, Laurel Canyon, collecting sticks, stones, bones, etc. Walking to school on Thursday mornings he would raid the local trash cans and stow his finds in bushes to be taken home later that day. Making order out of the chaos of these castoffs was the beginning of a life-long pursuit of collecting stuff and assembling art.

As a teenager in the late sixties he wanted to become a photojournalist after accompanying his father, Peter Furst, now an anthropologist and art collector, to Tepic, Mexico where the senior Furst documented the life and visionary art of the Huichol Indians. In the 1970s, Bobby spent time photographing musicians and concerts, street people in Hollywood and Venice Beach, and went on location to Mata Ortiz, Mexico for a month to document the now famous potter Juan Quesada (in the late nineties those photographs accompanied a retrospective of Juan Quasada's work at the Museum of Man in San Diego, California.)

In 1998 he went with a friend to the studio of assemblage artist George Herms. Soon after, at a garagesale, he met a painter attending the Santa Monica College of Design Art and Architecture who mentioned that George Herms taught there and that classes began the next day. Since admission to the school was by the administration's approval of an artist's portfolio, Bobby arrived the next day with art work in hand hoping to get into George’s class. Bobby spent the next year and a half, ten hours a day, seven days a week, creating art at his studio space at the school.

"Don't Push Me" is a collection of Bobby's works, hand-picked and curated by Billy Shire.