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.