Art or Garbage on a string?

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2008 at 2:27 pm

In this era of heightened awareness of our environment, artists are increasingly turning to junk stores, trash bins and surplus outlets to satisfy their urge to create while still caring for our planet. The tradition of recycling dates back to the nineteenth century, when American pioneers used recycled items instead of discarding them. Crazy quilts, pieced quilts, weathervanes made from scrap wood, and rag rugs are a treasured legacy of America’s tradition of recycling. Indeed, throughout our history, Americans have learned “to make do,” saving rubber bands and tinfoil and recycling gift-wrap and other items.

For the past one hundred years, artists have seen creative possibilities in cast-offs. Pablo Picasso, one of the foremost artists of the twentieth century, fashioned a bull’s head from a discarded bicycle handlebar and seat, while Marcel Duchamp, a founder of the Dada movement, asked viewers to see sculpture in a urinal and snow shovel. During the 1930s and 1940s, Alexander Calder made whimsical animals from coffee cans, while Joseph Cornell created intimate, surrealistic tableaux from found objects.

In the 1950s, artist Louise Nevelson created poetic and evocative sculpture from scrap wood, while Robert Rauschenberg began to explore the creative possibilities of junk as an artistic medium. In the 1960s and 1970s, John Chamberlain used auto body parts—squashed fenders, broken doors, twisted bumpers, and dented hoods, to create dynamic and expressionistic works of art. With increased environmental concerns in recent years, the use of recycled materials in art has gained new credibility.

Have no fear good people of Ridgewood the dopey hippie ideas your children have been exposed to are just recycled ideas of the past.


Ms. Zusy calls them Christmas decorations doesn’t mean that they are not garbage-on-a-string.

It wasn’t as if something was done to them to change their status, they were just thrown there, and people were told that they had to like them because “THE CHILDREN” made them. Any criticism easthetic/religious or otherwise has been interpreted by some as an attack on “THE CHILDREN”. It isn’t. We know that had “THE CHILDREN” had a choice, they would have made something decorative and pretty.

We are doing wrong by the children to tell thm that the tree is decorative, that garbage-on-a-string is art, and to, in the first place , coerce them to waste their time doing this.


  1. “coerce them” ???

    It was holiday school project.

    You must hate holidays, schools, or both.

    Merry Xmas!

  2. It is still garbage on a string no matter how many children contributed to its creation.

    They lids where not cut out to make stars or any other recognizable symbol of Christmas. They were simply strung together. This hardly rises to the level of art.

    Have fun defending the indefensible.

  3. I’m having fun listening to a philistine instruct the rest of us as to what “rises to the level of art”.

  4. We all know garbage when we see it. The kids know it looks like garbage too. Only the Grinch would put garbage on a Christmas tree. Christmas trees should have Christmas ornaments hung on them, not garbage, art, hats, mittens, kittens, boxes, bags, lids or art. Just Christmas ornaments. It really is not that difficult to define what a Christmas ornament is without debating your opinions about art and garbage.

    See #2
    From Websters;

    Main Entry:
    Middle English, from Anglo-French urnement, ornement, from Latin ornamentum, from ornare
    13th century

    1-archaic : a useful accessory
    2- a: something that lends grace or beauty b: a manner or quality that adorns
    3-: one whose virtues or graces add luster to a place or society
    4- : the act of adorning or being adorned
    5-: an embellishing note not belonging to the essential harmony or melody —called also embellishment fioritura

    Garbage does not belong.

  5. I think that the look of the tree and its ornaments is actually secondary to the location. The present location of the tree is absolutely unacceptable. It is hidden from view, and therefore serves no longer as a beacon of goodwill and friendship that Ridgewood trees of the past have done. The tree now is small, which leads some to think that as years pass, the current tree will become a mighty king of the park. Wrong, I’m afraid, again. As this tree ages and grows, so will its tree-ish neighbors in the park, which means that the tree will be less visible in the future. Finally, my Ridgewood brothers and sisters on the west side of town have lost their visiual link to the east side with the elimination of the traditional tree at the tracks. That’s a really bad and stupid move.

    So while some may argue about what is garbage and what is art–I, for one, don’t give a rip. Put a mammoth tree back in its traditional home. I don’t care if it’s lit or not. Just put a star on top and allow my friends to the west and friends in the east share this special holiday bond that each of us has celebrated since we moved to this village so many years ago.

  6. 10:22 Do you really think that given a choice the kids would have rummaged through their parents' garbage to get the stuff? They were not told to create anything and use their imaginations, just to find a way to secure the garbage onto the tree, and, to add insult to injury, write their names on it.

    I think that children would have made something nice, pretty and in keeping with the theme of Christmas Decorations….

    THINK! at the rate we're going what will Ms. Zusy & Co come up with on Valentine's Day and any holidays after that, to "educate" us?

  7. Hate to burst the earlier poster’s bubble, but the ornaments were NOT created in school as part of a curriculum project. They were created by the children while the HSA moms supervised.

    Blame the parents for trying to do something creative, not the schools.

  8. 7:52 Blame the Village Council for telling the HSA Moms to get the kids to make ornaments from recyclables.
    7:04 Bravo!!!!! for pointing out the greatest problem with the village tree.
    Merry Christmas to all!!!

  9. “Blame the Village Council for telling the HSA Moms to get the kids to make ornaments from recyclables”

    The “HSA Moms” don’t run the art program in the schools.

    The VC and BOE don’t even like each other, so I am not sure how the request was made. But it does look like garbage.

  10. I am a member of the HSA and we have a number of projects that we are working on. At my school there was no request for art for the tree. We are busy parents and would not select that as a project for our organization.

    It may have been a preschool project.

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