"This exhibition at The City Reliquary will present the stories behind New York’s
solid waste–from “one man’s garbage is another man’s gold” to the inventive ways
New Yorkers are reusing and recycling. It will trace the trajectory of waste
management in New York, from its early period with the squalid
nineteenth-century tenements documented by Jacob K. Riis, the landfill of Dead
Horse Bay, and the beginnings of the NYC Department of Sanitation, to the
mid-century landfill of Fresh Kills in Staten Island.
The exhibition culminates in profiles of seven artists and nonprofit organizations
that present innovating ways of considering waste management now and in the
The show offers a broad range of perspectives on issues of labor, value and use related to "waste" and recycling. Artists involved include the pioneering Mierle Laderman Ukeles, artist-in-residence to the New York Sanitation Department for forty years, and New York photographer Larry Racioppo, whose body of work includes images of scrappers, junk, and scrap yards throughout the city. Retired sanman Nelson Molina is represented here with objects from his famous "mongo" collection at the M11 Garage in East Harlem. Also featured - organizations involved in the creative re-use of materials, such as Materials for the Arts, the Lower East Side Ecology Center E-Waste Warehouse, and Industrial/Organic.
Ceremonial Arch Honoring Service Workers - Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Maintenance Art, (Queens Museum, 2016)
Photo: One More Folded Sunset
Cutting Tanks, Kent Avenue, Brooklyn. Photo: Larry Racioppo