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trash, art, or both?

'day 1"
collage on cardboard panel
gregory a. milinovich
i have always marveled at the beauty of the simple things, especially the beauty of the things we take for granted. i could talk at length, for example, about the colors of the dunkin' donuts logo. anyway, this has led me to some serious questions about trash or waste and art. can something that is essentially garbage be considered art when juxtaposed in a different way, or even on its own? what would make it so or not? further, in a world where garbage threatens to overwhelm us (computers, cars, nuclear waste, etc.), what does it mean to look at our waste in a different way? i guess i don't have the answers to these questions, but my own journey is to examine them.
in this context, a few years ago i had the idea to watch for garbage and collect it. so each day for a week i kept my eyes open for garbage wherever i was. i collected it and at the end of the day made a little collage from it. and so i have a series of 7 collages that i thought i would share with you this week for your consideration. i would love if we could discuss this issue a little deeper, especially if any of you are particularly interested in this. trash, art, or both? to get the discussion going, let me pose this scanario:
if i were to simply glue a snickers wrapper to a canvas, would that be art? i realize that for many, everything in them rejects this as art because "anyone can do that." so, is that a qualification for art? does it have to be something that not just anyone could do? or, is a better qualification that someone does do it? what can our trash and rubbage and waste possibly have to say to us?


Joel said…
Hey Gregg,

This is Monica's husband, painter, and whatever else. Trash and Art. There is an element of 'work' human work on materials that is an important part of this question. It is not so much about the Snickers wrapper in this case but why would someone pick it up and put it on the canvas. The prophet Nathan said the same simple words anyone in history could say even a little child, 'King David, you are that man...' There is context, human relationship to the materials, all these are part of the equation. And we are of into the world of post-modern art that has become much more like the 'work' of the old testament prophets than teh 'work' of David's fingers making music on a harp, 'Beauty overcoming evil'

I think in the end art is about communication, communion between persons, dead or alive, a celebration of common humanity. For me the question is about what is the quality of communion, conversation, we are able and willing to have together. Some people can say a whole lot with very little, in art it is called economy, it is the Picasso pen on paper drawings, or a hicku. Others can say seemingly nothing with tons of material,(television, etc...)

This is a good conversation around coffee. Keep working.

Emoly said…
Campbell soup cans became art, so why not? Not everyone can pick up Snickers wrappers and turn them into art. And if I made a collage and you made a collage both out of Snickers wrappers, whose to say which is better, or which is more artistic. This is why I had a real problem in college being graded on my drawings, but I won't get into that. :) So my opinion is art.

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