Artwork Detail

Poubelle (Trash Can), from Edition MAT
American, b. France, 1928–2005
Trash in Plexiglas box on painted wood, 100/100
28 1/8 x 20 1/4 x 4 7/8 "
University purchase with funds from Aurelia Gerhard Schlapp, by exchange, 2013
WU 2013.0005.0001
Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
French-born artist Arman was part of the artistic movement Nouveau Réalisme, whose characteristic collages, assemblages, reliefs, and found and altered objects, often based on everyday urban materials, formed a new form of postwar realism. Arman created his first poubelles, or trash cans, in the early 1960s by harvesting garbage from public dumpsters. For this work he took refuse from a trash can located at the Galerie Der Spiegel in Cologne and stuffed it into an acrylic container, letting the force of gravity largely determine the composition. By extracting and preserving a moment in the lifecycle of things, Arman, in the spirit of Duchamp, elevates the found object to the status of an autonomous art object, yet concurrently extends the instant indefinitely through a process of gradual decay, thereby defying the notion of a work of art as fixed and lasting. [Permanent collection label, 2016]