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Poubelle (Trash Can), from Edition MAT


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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]

  • Artist Arman (American, b. France, 1928–2005)
  • Title Poubelle (Trash Can), from Edition MAT
  • Date 1964
  • Medium Trash in Plexiglas box on painted wood, 100/100
  • Edition description 100/100
  • Dimensions unframed | 28 1/8 x 20 1/4 x 4 7/8 in.
  • Credit line University purchase with funds from Aurelia Gerhard Schlapp, by exchange, 2013
  • Copyright © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
  • Object number WU 2013.0005.0001

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art, 1959–1965
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 02/07/2020 - 01/03/2021

Moving Parts: Time and Motion in Contemporary Art
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 05/09/2014 - 08/31/2014

4/11/2013 (ACC Approved)
Galerie Der Spiegel (Cologne, Germany)

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