Trashy Art Exhibit

Found Art Gets New Meaning

Learn how artists are transforming trash into art

"Cabinet of Marine Debris," by Mark Dion





































Finding interesting objects and creating works of art from them is not new. Of course artists making a statement is not new either.

Recently the trend is to take objects found either in the ocean or that have washed up on shore. This type of art combines “found art” with education: specifically about the things we throw away and that the ocean is the ultimate recipient of our trash.

Many of the objects are colorful and at first look they seem to be fun. The artists may combine them to create abstract shapes or an animal such as the bird by Cynthia Minnet, part of her “Beasts of Burden” series.

Cynthia Minet sculpture

















Despite the patterns and skill of the artists, it doesn’t take long to realize that this is trash gathered from the ocean.

The artists’ point?

In a traveling exhibit, “Gyre: The Plastic Ocean,” organized by Anchorage Museum and now on display at the USC Fisher Museum of Art in Los Angeles, artists take the seemingly petty individual sin of littering and shine a light on the collective cost: mountains of abandoned flip-flops, handfuls of plastic rings, structures built of bottles found washed ashore.

“These artworks are testaments to the negative impact of our consumptive practices and reminders of the ongoing damage we subject our natural environment to,” USC Fisher Museum curator Ariadni Liokatis told The Huffington Post via email.

Our lesson as viewers of this art exhibit, not to mention as fellow travelers on the planet?

Hold on to your flip-flops Batman! Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Thanks to Claire Fallon of the Huffington Post for the original article. (Read it here.)

Photos, Mark Dion “Cabinet of Marine Debris,” Mixed media, and “Beasts of Burden,”by Cynthia Minet