Can Discarded Items Be Considered Art

I am not a fan of pop-art.  It just all seems ridiculous to me.  Since this is a positive blog I really had to do some digging to find something that I liked and after much searching I was able to find a couple artists that are pretty interesting.  The first is a man named Haim Steinbach.  Haim Steinbach was born in Israel and moved to that United States as a kid.  He started getting noticed for his art in the 1970’s.  His works are primarily arrangements of discarded items.  He also creates the stands that they are displayed on.

1froot loops

froot loops 1 2007 New York

Untitled (dog chew, chocolate Santa)_F

Untitled (dog chew, chocolate Santa) 1A 2008 New York


Untitled (emergency sign, shot glasses, dog chews) 2009 New York


flying Dutchman 2  2008 New York

Steinbach Mr. Peanut 1

mr. peanut 2008 New York

1tonkong rubbermaid

tongkong rubbermaid II-1  2007 New York

I honestly cannot say why I like the work of Haim Steinbach.  There is something simple about it that draws my attention towards the boxes of Froot Loops in the first piece.  It might have to do with the spacing in Untitled and Flying Dutchman.  I like how the lines of the display and the warning triangle work together to create a sense of being off balance.  And the brightness of the yellow in the last piece offset by the darkness off to the right of it draws my attention too.  And I keep coming back to the same question over and over.  What is this dude’s obsession with dog chew toys?  Does he live near a pound?  There aren’t many answers to be found but, a lot of questions and I like that about the work of Haim Steinbach.

Next is an artist named Jim Gary.  As a child he moved out of his parents home at the age of eleven and started to support himself.  From early on he showed a natural mechanical skill and was able to build himself a bike and when he was old enough to drive a car.  After learning how to weld in the Navy he started to weld sculptures out of old automobile parts.  The most famous of which are his traveling exhibit Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs.  Created in 1979 in New Jersey this exhibit traveled the world.


No Name 1979   New Jersey


No Name 1979 New Jersey


No Name 1979 New Jersey


No Name 1979 New Jersey


No Name 1979 New Jersey


No Name 1979 New Jersey

The reason that I like all of these pieces is that often art comes across as pretentious and self important.  These dinosaur sculptures made out of old auto parts are just fun.  From the bright colors to the fact that they are dinosaurs they just take me back to when I was a kid and dinosaurs were the most amazing thing that I had ever heard of.  

After doing this assignment I believe that discarded items, otherwise known as junk, can be made into art.  From old cereal boxes to old car parts, when arranged properly can inspire both questions and awe and that is what good art is supposed to do. 


“Haim Stienbach”  Wikipedia.  Web.  15 October 2013.  5 August 2014.

“Haim Steinbach”  Haim Steinbach.  Web.  5 August 2014.

“Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs”  Web.  5 August 2014

“Jim Gary”  Wikipedia.  Web.  20 June 2014.  5 August 2014


5 thoughts on “Can Discarded Items Be Considered Art

  1. I really like those dinosaurs by Jim Gary. Maybe it’s the fact that they are made of car parts that makes me like them, but those things are sweet. I’ve never seen anything like that and now I want one. A lot of metal “yard art” composed of old parts just looks like trash but his work is a different story. As far as Haim Steinbach’s work, there is something strangely appealing. At first thought it seems like the dumbest idea ever, a shelf with fruit loop boxes and a dog toy, but after seeing it it’s almost like pure genius. I don’t know if I’d want his work in my own home, but there definitely is something cool about it. Great post.

  2. Pop-Art can be a little hard to explain, but I think that many of these objects have different meanings for each of us, the audience, what we think about when we see it, the dog chew toys, they remind me of my dogs and that brings a smile to my face, perhaps that is what he is interested in doing for his audience. Those dinosaurs and flying insects they are just plain awesome. I want one for my yard. Really enjoyed looking at them. Thanks

  3. I usually do not like pop art either. It seems like some of the “art” could be thrown away without any thought if it was not specified as art. However, most of the art shown here was really cool. I liked Gary’s dinosaurs the best. They are bright and fun, with just enough skill added to show that they are truly an art form. I liked all of Steinbach’s works except for the two untitled ones. They seemed lazier to me. In addition to the dog chews, I am having trouble understanding the Spider Man on the Flying Dutchman. Although it may not make much sense, I liked it.

  4. I like that you chose recycled art as your subject. Have you ever entered the UAF sustainability show? There is always cool and creative pieces of art at that show in the Wood center. Recycled art is awesome because you basically use whatever you can get your hands on literally anywhere and pretty much anything can be considered an art, or innovative especially if it is mixed media

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