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.

About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

2 responses »

  1. Love the pig, and look forward to seeing (inspecting) all of the images when back at the apartment.

    Sorry I’ve been so quiet, but I’ve enjoyed every post — especially enjoyed the ‘Alone,’ — I think that being happy in the solo/sola status is important for being an artist… Presently I’m working until 3 or 4 in the morning and sleeping til noon… that definitely works best when one doesn’t need to consider the habits of someone who sleeps in the night an is awake at 6…

    however – when i was married long ago, i would paint til dawn, have breakfast ready and was probably a bit too cheerful for that first conversation of the day —- he would go to work and i would then go to sleep.

    I’m online now to check to see if we have a formal results answer for the election.. seems its still pending…

    until tomorrow – it’s a bit like groundhog day!


    • And now we finally have a result! Though I know there is still big work to be done here, I feel more optimistic than I have in years!
      Until I had small children and jobs that forced me to rethink my schedule, I was often up all night, too! I did some of my best work in those hours before dawn! I would get my husband off to work, then sleep on the couch, with the sun shining in on me, like a comfortable cat. Lately, I have trained myself to go to bed early – quite early – and get up at five AM. This is working for me now, better than the middling way I’d been living: up ’til midnight, but too tired to be productive, hitting the snooze button over and over each morning, getting up tired and rushed…I always thought I was an “owl” not a “lark,” but my early morning hours, before I have to go to my job, are much more productive and enjoyable than my after-work time ever was. Whatever works, that’s the key. As you said, it helps if crazy hours aren’t interfering with anyone else’s lifestyle! Thanks for reading, Lisa, and for your comments! Take care!

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