Posts Tagged ‘Trash Art’

Tony Feher at the Bronx Museum

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

This past Friday, the day job took me to the Bronx for an immigration-themed event hosted by the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Before the film screening and panel presentation, a rep from the museum got up to welcome the crowd and invite us to visit the exhibitions (free), attend their annual holiday party (free) and enjoy the food they served there (also, free). In sum, “Everything we do is free!” she said.

Now that’s my kind of museum.

Unfortunately, I had to rush downtown that evening and did not get a chance to check out the art. Today, in an absent-minded internet search for “trash art,” I came across a review of Tony Feher‘s work on display at the very same museum and kicked myself.


Photograph by Jason Mandella, via

Here’s a description of his work via the Bronx Museum website:

Tony Feher came to prominence in the 1990s, inspired by the generation of minimalists that preceded him. Using materials in new ways, Feher turned his attention to the sculptural qualities of the everyday. Taking advantage of the generally overlooked and discarded, he highlights their formal qualities while simultaneously imbuing them with personal meaning. His careful consideration transforms and re-contextualizes these items into unique works of art.

I hope to check out the current exhibit before it closes on February 16th. Who wants to go the Bronx?

71 Square Miles

Friday, September 6, 2013

Artist Jennifer Maravillas created a cartograph of Brooklyn representing each block with a piece of trash collected on that block.  This project — — combines so, so many of my favorite things into a massive, tidy, beautiful collage. Check out the work in progress here. Prints of past, equally political and whimsical for sale here.



Thanks to Oriana of Brooklyn Spaces for pointing it out to me.

Oh, Plastiksack!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The fabulous site inhabitat featured today Ida-Marie Corell‘s Ikea gown, the centerpiece of her installation in a show called “Oh, Plastiksack” at the Gewerbemuseum in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Ida-Marie Corell’s Ikea gown

In trying to find out more about both the artist and the show, I came across Corell’s wonderful Plastic Bag Blog, which I’ll be adding to the blogroll and trolling for content on the regular from now on. She also has a book out about plastic bags, German-reading trashies consider this an open call for a guest post review.

Jamaica Bay Pen Project

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Remember Willis Elkins, the artist who collects cigarette lighters from the shores of New York City? His latest found art adventure involves not just collecting found objects, but restoring them.


The Haksiva

For the Jamaica Bay Pen Project, Elkins gives new life to pens that wash up on the shores of Jamaica Bay in Queens by cleaning them up and replacing the ink cartridges.  Track the project here.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Brazilian-born, New York-based artist Vik Muniz has set up his latest project in Rio de Janeiro, timed with Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Appropriately entitled Landscape, Muniz’ new work recreates Rio (the global capital of debate around the environment) entirely out of trash. You probably remember Muniz from the incredible documentary Waste Land.


Photo via the AP

As one whose day job revolves around international development, I was somewhat relieved not to have to go to Rio this week and participate in the organized chaos of assessing the state of sustainable development around the world. Women’s rights, my area of focus, don’t get much prominence on the agenda and I have many dutiful colleagues who trooped down to Latin America to remind world leaders that, as a Guatemalan colleague put it recently, “we can’t achieve sustainable development if women’s lives are unsustainable.”

Anyway, that is to say I was feeling pretty jaded and exhausted by the mere thought of all the hustle and bustle and tedious bureaucracy orbiting around a meeting of this size and pomp. Until I read about this new Vik Muniz endeavor. Suddenly, I’m jealous of all the activists and diplomats packed into conference rooms and pouring over the past twenty years of progress (or lack thereof) on issues of sustainability.  Those bastards get to slip out and visit amazing trash art projects! I wonder what other creative efforts environmentally-minded artists have cooked up for this occasion.

Are you in Rio? Send updates and photos, please!

Austin’s Cathedral of Junk

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My kick ass friend and fellow blogger Oriana of the amazing site Brooklyn Spaces has a lovely “honorary Brooklyn” post of right now featuring Austin’s Cathedral of Junk.

Cathedral of Junk

Looks like a magical place and yet another reason I need to get to Austin.


Monday, April 16, 2012

“The question we must ask ourselves is who and what are waste?”

My friend, Myra, sent me photos of a show she spotted while attending a conference this weekend at Hampshire College. And of course, this being the future, online video tells the story best.

Click here to find out more about this innovative work reimagining dumpstered skateboards, discarded plastic water bottles and countless other materials we sometimes think of as waste. I wish I’d taken a Design, Art and Technology class as an undergrad!

Thanks for the tip, Myra!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Remember this sweet chandelier? I just learned that it’s coming to NYC for Earth Day!

Chandelier in Toronto, 2009

I have to say I get MANY, MANY Earth Day pitch emails, usually covering general green topics not directly linked to trash and most pimping  a for-profit product. So I was extra thrilled to get word that  a public art project I have admired from afar. It goes up tomorrow, here’s what the press release has to say about the installation, which opens tomorrow (I added the links):

A 21-foot tall sculpture in the form of a chandelier made of recycled plastic containers will hang above the World Financial Center Winter Garden’s famed marble staircase for an entire month starting on April 15th. 

From April 15th through May 11th, visitors to the ten-story glass-vaulted atrium will be able to look up and see artist Katharine Harvey‘s stunning Chandelier, a 21-foot tall and 15-foot wide sculpture consisting of thousands of used plastic containers laboriously washed and strung together. The artist has transformed water bottles, sandwich trays, muffin tins, salad boxes, egg cartons, and more into a symbol of luxury and opulence while simultaneously commenting on the glut of plastic in consumer society.
And here’s more about the artist, also from the press release:
A resident of Toronto, Canada, Katharine Harvey, represented by Nicholas Metivier Gallery, is known for creating sculptural installations that refashion plastic packaging and dollar-store items into startlingly beautiful works of art. Her paintings, light displays, and sculptures have been featured in galleries and public installations throughout the world, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, the Vancouver Winter Olympics, Nuit Blanche Festival in Toronto, Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., Le Centre d’Exposition in Baie-St-Paul (Québec), and the Painting Center (New York). Group shows include the Galerie Art Mûr (Québec), Art Gallery of Regina, Saskatchewan, as well as residencies at Ivavvik National Park in the northern Yukon (2006) and The Banff Centre in Alberta (2003).
Local trashies, send photos and comments if you go check it out for yourselves. I plan to stop by sometime this week.

Hypergraphia: The Cup Drawings

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11am-2pm, artist Gwyneth Leech sits inside the glass walls of the Flatiron Prow Art Space drawing on used coffee cups. The other night, my friend Phillip and I went to see the film The Artist after which he walked me to the Subway stop just in front of the Flatiron Building. It seemed perfectly appropriate to stumble onto such a whimsical project after seeing such a whimsical film.

Photo taken by Phillip on his phone. Thanks, Phillip!

The best description of this project (as well as lots of great photos and descriptions of the artist’s other work) can be found on her blog, Gwyneth’s Full Brew in the form of this conversation with a passerby as she was outside wiping finger, nose and palmprints off the windows:

A man came up to me carrying his takeout coffee (small brown cup, flat lid, wrapped in a napkin).

He asked rather belligerently, “What exactly is the point of this installation?”
I drew breath. He actually looked kind of angry.
“Well,” I said, “it is about the inventive potential of the human spirit. The artist has saved all her used paper coffee cups for years and she has drawn and painted on each one by hand. There must be almost 800 cups hanging in there. And each one is a different.”
“Oh!” He said, and stalked off, apparently satisfied.
The website for the art space says the artist would be sitting inside the prow through December 31, so I’m not sure if the live drawing element of the installation is still in progress or if this is the finished product. I kind of like not knowing. The stack of used cups not yet decorated beside a chair and a bunch of colored markers is a quiet reminder of the endless supply of disposable canvas we generate in this city, this country, this world…

Got a light?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Over the course of 10 months, Brooklyn-based artist Willis Elkins collected nearly 2000 cigarette lighters from the shorelines of New York City, documented, photographed and mapped them.


Elkins, who describes himself as being “very interested in all facets of consumer culture, product disposability and the waste infrastructure,” has a number of other interesting projects on his site LESS logs. Less stands for Locate Explore Synthetic Sites.

The lighter project in particular reminds me of Norwegian artist Jon Gunderson‘s contribution to the 2008 “Through the Looking Glass: From Found Object to Trash Art” show curated by Samir M’kadmi (and opened with a keynote by yours truly, still one of the coolest opportunities every brought on by everydaytrash). Gunderson presented a series of found briefcases each filled neatly with objects found on walks through Oslo. He had a case filled with pacifiers, one with cigarette lighters and another filled entirely with black shoe soles.

Oslo art show

Somehow organizing these everyday objects in cases and putting those cases on a row of podiums elevated their status from trash to art with social commentary. Elkins’ projects do the same. Check them out!

Semi-related post: Introspective trash.

Atis Rezistans

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Haitian trash sculpture

Follow this link. Follow this link. Incredible trash art from sculptures in Haiti. Click on each artist’s name to view the work. And/or check out this badass documentary.

Thanks for the tip, Charles!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Whoops, meant to alert the masses earlier on this one. The trash art extravaganza “ScrapCycle (reUSE/reCOMBINE)” opens tonight at Devotion Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Ari Tabei

For more on the opening, click here.  For more on the group show, workshop and performances click here. Addmission to each event is a piece of trash,  so you know it’s our kind of party. The show runs through May 30th.

Arman’s poubelles

Sunday, April 25, 2010

French artist Arman traveled between France and the US making incredible trash art for several decades before his death in 2005. A recurring theme in his work was the poubelle, or trash can.

Household trash in a glass box, 1959

Here’s a photo timeline of Arman’s poubelles, a must-click for anyone interested in trash art. A biography of the artist can be found here (check out the photo of his piece “Long Term Parking”) and a more general timeline of his life and work here. Thanks Rachel and Tamar for sharing these links. Super!

More fun poubelle-themed links here, here and here.

Recycling station art

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In Halmstad, Sweden’s 19th city (56 000 pax), trashy art has been taken to where trash harbours. Local artist Kamil Lucaszewicz has decorated a city recycling station, much to the joy of Lucaszewicz’s fellow citizens. Local TV station TV4 Halland has the story (there’ll be an ad clip first)!

Tea bag fedora

Monday, January 4, 2010

Last night Victor and I and our friends Oriana and Kimberly met for dinner at Sabay Thai Restaurant in Elmhurst, Queens for some spicy food and to check out Trash-formations, a small exhibit of art made of garbage.

Jefferey Allen Price's contribution to the show

I have to say, after seeing photos of curator N’Cognita‘s past work, the little pieces hanging on the walls felt a bit underwhelming. I was hoping for a dramatic installation, an expectation heightened by the long train ride and bitter cold endured to find the joint in the first place. What I saw reminded me more of the hallways outside the art classrooms in high school. It’s not that some of the work wasn’t excellent. It just didn’t stand out in the setting—a dimly lit little restaurant.

While eating, I did notice a sweet looking fedora from across the room. Before leaving, we all did a loop of the dining room to check out the art up close. It was then that I realized the hat was made of tea bags. Tea bags!

That, combined with the fact that when I asked for extra spicy my food arrived actually spicy made the whole trip worth it (even if we did have to ride the Broadway line local all the way back to Brooklyn). If you find yourself in or around Elmhurst, check out Sabay Thai. We especially recommend the vegetarian duck; and the tea bag fedora by artist Jefferey Allen Price.

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