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OED Definition
Pronunciation: /dəːt/
noun [mass noun]: 1 a substance, such as mud or dust, that soils someone or something: soil or earth; informal excrement; a state or quality of uncleanliness. 2 informal information about someone’s activities or private life that could prove damaging if revealed
Origin: Middle English: from Old Norse drit ‘excrement’, an early sense in English

“Dirt is matter out of place” – Mary Douglas, Purity & Danger (1966)

“People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.” – Plato

“I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt.” – George Orwell

“We no longer find a roomful of dirt […] to be a dubious sculptural gesture.” Ellegood, Anne. Vitamin 3-D: New Perspectives in Sculpture and Installation. Phaidon (eds.). 2009. Phaidon, London. p.012.

Ruben Ochoa, Collapsed (Once Extracted) (2009) Concrete, steel, burlap, wood, dirt. h: 144 x w: 525 x d: 600 in / h: 365.8 x w: 1333.5 x d: 1524 cm

Katrina Grosse – Untitled (2013) acrylic on soil and canvas, 420x970x1400 cm

Song Dong – Doing Nothing Garden (2012)

Walter De Maria – The New York Earth Room (1977) Long-term installation at 141 Wooster Street, New York City. An interior earth sculpture. 250 cubic yards of earth (197 cubic meters), 3,600 square feet of floor space (335 square meters), 22 inch depth of material (56 centimeters), Total weight of sculpture: 280,000 lbs. (127,300 kilos).

Cal Lane – Dirt floor (2011) sifted garden soil on mylar

Allan Kaprow – Trading Dirt (1982-85)

Allan Kaprow – Trading Dirt (1982-85)

Allan Kaprow spoke of the origins of Trading Dirt: “I woke up one day and had an idea. I would dig a bucket of dirt from the garden, and I’d put the bucket of dirt and a shovel in my truck. On some future day, I’d trade my dirt for someone else’s dirt.” He later exchanged it with a bucket of dirt from underneath the teacher’s chair at the Buddhist Zen Center in San Diego. Allan Kaprow – Just Doing.  TDR (1988-) Vol. 41, No. 3 (Autumn, 1997) (pp. 101-106)

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