Tag Archives: American Art and Eccocriticism

Recycling as Creativity:
An Environmental Approach to Twentieth-Century American Art

Discarded items or waste provide a bountiful, although largely ignored, resource for artists interested in appropriating found objects to give them a second life or share their story. Artists may be inspired to create works from scrap items encountered by chance. In other instances, deliberate scavenging for reusable materials can take them into new environments that spark fresh ideas. The methodology of found materials brings up questions about reconfiguring the appropriation of junk in ways that raise awareness of the nature of objects and products in modern life, consumption practices, recycling, and waste. Discourse surrounding the dichotomy between art and junk focuses largely on the connection between everyday objects and high-art objects with American consumption practices. Recent waste studies by scholars, such as Boscagli, Manco, Morrison, Schmidt, and Whiteley, demonstrate varying aims toward both  elevating the status of trash as material ripe for fine-art making and as a conceptual conduit for raising awareness of the dangers in our rapidly increasing and accelerating consumer habits.

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