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
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
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: 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
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.
Otero-Pailos, Jorge. (2009). The Ethics of Dust: Doge’s Palace. Latex and dust.
Palmer, Angela. (2009). Breathing In. Air, pollutants, mixed media.
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.
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.
Trans Trash: Understanding Waste Streams.