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OED Definition
Pronunciation: /traSH/
Noun: discarded matter; refuse; cultural items, ideas, or objects of poor quality; a person or people regarded as being of very low social standing
Verb [with object]: 1 informal damage or wreck; discard; (computing) kill (a file or process) or wipe (a disk); criticize severely; intoxicated with alcohol or drugs. 2 strip (sugar cane) of its outer leaves to ripen it faster.
Origin: late Middle English: of unknown origin. The verb is first recorded (mid 18th century) in trash (sense 2 of the verb); the other senses have arisen in the 20th century

“Trash is the visible interface between everyday life and the deep, often abstract terrors of ecological crisis.” – Heather Rogers, Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage.

“Trash has a history of its own because you find objects that have been worked, that have lived, that have existed; that they have taken on a certain beauty. But there is also anonymous trash. For instance, if you go to a tin worker, you’ll find pieces of tin, neutral, anonymous pieces of tin. […] To me trash is not ‘what society rejects’, but ‘a useful material that someone left lying around.” César in interview with S. Frauchereau and J. Ristat in Diagraphe no. 29, March 1983.

“I truly think that trash should stop being refuse, before the artist can make use of it.” Tony Cragg – Trash Art, Internationales Forum Für Gestaltung, Ulm 1992.

“I have never been interested in trash, it;s a generic term and it is so irresponsible to use it.” Tony Cragg – Tony Cragg ed. Germano Celant, Charta, Milan 1997.

Kurt Kren – 562 Fenstergucker, Abfall, etc. (562 People Looking Out of the Window, Trash, etc.) (1962)

Martha Rosler – Secrets from the Street: No Disclosure (1980) 10:45 Reading the billboards, the trash, the cars, the people, and the graffitti of the street as cultural signs, Rosler extracts the network of social power and domination that determines whose culture gets represented where, asking, “Whose culture gets in the magazines and whose culture is required to exist in the street?” A collage of super-8 footage shot while cruising the streets of a predominantly Latino neighborhood with a voiceover of Rosler’s commentary, the tape successfully combines social analysis with everyday observation, drawing attention to the structure of society’s fabric and reevaluating what the dominant culture calls “trash.”

Aristarkh Chernyshev – Urgent! (newsbin) (2007)

Max Liboiron – New York Trash Exchange (2010) trash, mixed media, AC Institute, New York, NY

Richard Shields – Slurped (2008) Bic Biro on paper coffee cups with plastic lids.

Cady Noland – Misc. Spill (1990) Awning frames, aluminum, trash, shopping cart, flag, cinderblocks, car bumper, and concrete. Dimensions variable

Tyler Rowland – The Stonebreakers (All the Objects Needed to Install a Work of Art) (2004-06) trash from jobsite

El Anatsui – Tapestries of Trash (2013) liquor bottle caps

Arman – Poubelles (1959) household trash in a glass box

Michael Gumhold – Untitled (drumkit) (2010) mixed media (including used bottle caps), 70 x 60 x 60 cm

Vivan Sundaram – Trash: A Masterplan (2005-08) digital print, 143cm x 503cm

HA Schult – Trash People (1996)

Dan Colen – To Be Titled (2011) trash and paint on canvas

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