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OED Definition
Pronunciation: /riˈfyo͞oz/
Verb [no object]: indicate or show that one is not willing to do something; [with object] indicate that one is not willing to accept or grant (something offered or requested); informal (of a thing) fail to perform a required action; [with object] decline to accept an offer of marriage from (someone); [with object] (of a horse) stop short or run alongside (a fence or other obstacle) instead of jumping it.
Origin: Middle English: from Old French refuser, probably an alteration of Latin recusare ‘to refuse’, influenced by refutare ‘refute’
Pronunciation: /ˈrefˌyo͞os, -ˌyo͞oz/
Noun: matter thrown away or rejected as worthless; trash
Origin: late Middle English: perhaps from Old French refusé ‘refused’, past participle of refuser

“Consumer culture is not my deliberate catalyst to make anything, but it is a critique of my work that I’ve accepted because I use objects consumed by everyday people. I hate shopping since there are too many things to choose from. To me it represents an order and the ego. Culture is driven by the ego of the shopper. So much of what life could or should be about is masked by our obsession with buying and owning and wanting something we can’t afford.” Willie Cole, Hyperallergic: Upcycled: A Conversation With Willie Cole, May 2013.

“I don’t want a picture to look like something it isn’t. I want it to look like something it is. And I think a picture is more like the real world when it’s made out of the real world.” Robert Rauschenberg quoted in Calvin Tomkins – Off the Wall: Robert rauschenberf and the Art World of Our Time, 1980, Penguin Books, New York.

“I was the garbage man there [Black Mountain College in North Carolina during the late 1940s] becaue I liked to drive trucks. We had one studio and a second studio that wasn’t registered. I would go through everybody’s garbage and take out the things that we would like to have.” Robert Rauschenberg in interview with Barbara Rose: An Interview with Robert Rauschenberg.


Sarah Goffman – Refuse (2005) plastic bags

Ellen Ringstad – Information Overload II (2011). paper, acrylic. Size: 50x50x50cm

Robert Rauschenberg – Regilar Diary Glut (1986) riveted, painted metal, 215.9 x 294.6 x 61 cm

Willie Cole – Harlem Rose (2005-06) shoes, wood, resin, screws. Diameter: 45″ / 114.3cm; Depth 15 1/2″ / 39.4cm

Nicola Dale – Down (2010) 12,000 paper feathers hand crafted from a set of 1970s Ordnance Survey maps which were being thrown away from the artist’s local library.

Michel de Broin – Dead Star (2008)

Michel de Broin – Dead Star (2008) Batteries, urethane, polystyrene

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