Daily Archives: November 4, 2020

Timeout for Art: Junk Art

my precious “Flying Pig” garden sculpture, made for me by my son-in-law, Jeremy Clark

The term. “junk art” was first used by the critic, Lawrence Alloway, in reference to the “Combines” created by Robert Rauschenberg, in which the artist affixed rags, torn reproductions, and other waste materials onto his canvasses. It has come to refer to art that is composed of humble, worthless things. It is often also “anti- aesthetic,” meaning that it doesn’t attempt to meet the traditional standards of fine art.

The concept of junk art goes back to Cubist collage, where actual labels, newspaper and other ordinary materials were adhered to the surface.

Cardboard Guitar by Pablo Picasso

The idea was manifest in the work of Kurt Schwitters, produced after the First World War, much of which was made of rubbish.

Cigar by Kurt Schwitters

In the 1950s and 1960s, junk played a prominent role in Earth Art, Happenings, and the Combine art introduced by Rauschenberg.

Monogram by Robert Rauschenberg

Dewey Blocksma is a Michigan artist that has gained international acclaim from his strong, whimsical images created from simple materials.

The River Guardian (Traverse City, Michigan) by Dewey Blocksma

Though often associated with “Outsider Art” and “Tramp Art,” Junk Art has found a solid place of its own in the art world.