Art & Artists

Andy Hughes, El Segundo, Los Angeles, California. Photograph.

This is a list of art and artists who do not only work with discards (a fairly common practice), but whose ideas, content, and methodologies are discard studies in and of themselves. This is only a short list; if you would like to recommend additional art, artists, or exhibitions, please leave a comment below.


Kim Abeles: The Smog Collectors

Mandy Barker: plastic accumulation

Catherine Bertola: sculptures made of dust and glue

Josh Blackwell: plastic bag art

Alice Bradshaw: Museum of Contemporary Rubbish

Edward Burtynsky: sublime landscapes of waste

Matthew Christopher: photography of abandoned sites

Donna Colton: waste-based socio-archaeological

James Croak: cast dirt sculpture

Daniele Del Nero: mould & architecture

Pieter Hugo. 36. Yakubu Al Hasan, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana 2009. Photograph.

Pieter Hugo. 36. Yakubu Al Hasan, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana 2009. Photograph.

Mirian Dym: wasteless art/product processes

Justin Gignac: NYC trash cubes

David Goldblatt: asbestos series

Paul Hazelton: sculptures made of dust

Andy Hughes: “littoral zone” & environmental concerns

Pieter Hugo: “Permanent Error,” documentary photography of an e-waste dump.

Nathan Kensinger: photographs abandoned and industrial edges of NYC

Max Liboiron: practice-based research via trash economies

Carey Lin: hoarding

Pam Longobardi: psychological relationship between humans, marine debris, and the natural world

Gordon Matta Clark, Conical Intersect, 1975.

Gordon Matta Clark: destruction, entropy and leftover spaces

Steve McPherson: systems of knowledge & information using trash, particularly marine debris

Mie Olise: Paints with toxic pigments, and makes installations of/with abandoned spaces.

Alexandre Orion: filth graffiti

Nyaba LeonOuedraogo: ‘The Hell of Copper’ (L’Enfer du Cuivre)

Julie Parker: art from dryer lint

Anne Percoco: performance with/for/of found objects

Jostein Skeidsvoll: “Cans Recycled: The Visual Power of Invisible Things”

Smudge Studio: where the geologic and the human converge.

Atis Rezistans: The Grand Rue Sculptors: make-do, survivalist recycling and artistic endeavor

Aurora Robson: interrupting the waste stream via plastic debris

Robbie Rowlands: discarded architectures

Paul Lloyd Sargent: practice-based research on supply and disposal chains

HA Schult: garbage armies

Lizzie Scott: performance art about the permanence & ephemerality of discards

Muriel Laderman Ukeles: sanitation art

Max Liboiron, Abundance: The Dawson City Trash Project, 2008.

Maarten Vanden Eynde: waste and zoology/evolution

Bryan Zanisnik: mystical environments made of collections of discards


Aw, Zinkie. (2012). Republic of Pulau Semakau. Photography.

Binder, Justin. (2011). Dumpster Drive. Digital software.

Blommaert, Brandon Jan. (2009). Virtual Trash Sculptures.

Collis, Susan. (2008). Love is A Charm of Powerful Trouble. Wooden broom, white opal, yellow opal, Brazilian opal, cultured pearl, freshwater pearl, mother of pearl, white diamond, black diamond, sapphire, garnet, ruby, labradorite, moonstone, white howite, jadeite, citron cyrsoprase, turquoise, peridot, emerald.

Eskinja, Igor.  (2011). Dust Carpet. Dust. (several pieces)

Elkins, Willis. (2010-2011). New York City Lighter Log. Discarded lighters, maps.

Freeman, Christina. Plums for Trash. International trash exchanges.

Hinterculture (Karyl Newman and Larissa Nickel). DEHSART (Desert Engagement Hinder Swill, Achieve Recycled Trash)

James, Valerie. (n.d.). Migrant Trash. objects found in borderland deserts.

Jordan, Chris. (2006-present). Running the Numbers: An American Self Portrait,series. Photographs.

Korda, Serena. (2011). Laid to Rest. Dust, performance.

Leech, Gwyneth. (2008-2009). Cup Drawings. Disposable cups, markers.

Leis, Heikki. (n.d.) Afterlife series. Photographs of mould.

Levi, Stacy. (2000). Mold Garden. Glass, growth medium, mould spores, stainless steel hardware.

Noble, Tim and Sue Webster. (1997-2006). Various Shadow Sculptures. Light, trash.

Otero-Pailos, Jorge. (2009). The Ethics of Dust: Doge’s Palace. Latex and dust.

Palmer, Angela. (2009). Breathing In. Air, pollutants, mixed media.

Angela Palmer, Breathing In.

Phillips, Sarah Nicole. (2011-present). Curbside Object Status Tags. Silkscreened cards.

Pichler, Klaus. (2011). One Third: A project on food waste. Photography and informational captions

Pistoletto, Michelangelo. (1967, 1974). Venus of the Rags. Marble and textiles.

Premo, Mac. The Dumpster Project. Objects, dumpster.

Sensible City Lab. (n.d.). Trash | Track. Multimedia project.

Stacy Levy. (2000). Mold Garden. Glass, mold.

Stookey, Nathaniel. (2007). Junkorchestra. A symphony in three movements, for 30 or so “instruments” created from trash.

Tratnik, Polona (2006). Microcosm. Mold, bathroom fixtures, artist’s bodily bacteria.

Art Exhibitions/ Sites:

Chasing Sanitation: Falling in Love with New York’s Strongest.

Design Squish Blog: Upcycling materials to bring former trash into domestic and everyday spaces.

Photo from Chasing Sanitation. The name says it all.

Gallery of Lost Art: An archive of Unrealized, Ephemeral, Rejected, Stolen, Discarded, Transient, Erased, Lost, Missing, Destroyed, and Attacked art.

Junk to Funk: fashion show.

Landfillart: an international effort encompassing one-thousand-forty-one (1,041) artists to claim a piece of rusted metal garbage and create fine art.

Museum of Synthetic Preservation: salvation and storage of (waste) materials around the museum.

Recycling the looking-glass / Trash art – Found objects

Trans Trash: Understanding Waste Streams.

Trash Baby Makes Art.

Universal Warning Sign: Yucca Mountain.

Gallery of Lost Art, Tate Modern online.

Gallery of Lost Art, Tate Modern online.

6 thoughts on “Art & Artists

  1. Pingback: Detritus as Muse: Trash and the Failure of the New | Archaeology and Material Culture

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  4. Hello,
    I would like to be considered for this list. For the past 2 years I have been working with discarded materials to help me understand death, decay, loss and transformation. Please look at my sculpture section of my website. I hope you like it. And feel free to contact me for any information. I will be adding newly completed works to my site as soon as I can take some pictures (hopefully this week)
    Thank you!

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