Green Garbage Bags in Art and History


Image by Scott Kilgour

Here's a sorry thought: Canadians invented the green garbage bag. Yes folks, it's true--one of our unique contributions to the environmental destruction of the world.

Scott Kilgour, a Scottish artist living in the USA, discovered this little known fact and became so fascinated that he incorporated the dreaded bag into his art. And he published a little book entitled "the good life" to illustrate his views on our consumer, throwaway culture.


Image by Scott Kilgour

It's a very small and intimate book, for such a gross and huge subject. There are 10 black and white drawings of garbage bags in various shapes and forms--he likes his bags big and fat and filled to the brim.

Kilgour is trying to create awareness of the value of trash from a fine art point of view. He has written a very interesting essay which talks about the relationship between trash and trash culture. As he says "trash is an extension of ourselves" and describes the different artistic movements such as the Ashcan School , artists who depicted the nitty-gritty of New York life in the 1900's, and later "junk art" and "pop art" and "trash culture" of the '80's.

gavin turk photo

Image from BBC Home

Britain's Gavin Turk did some sculptures of garbage bags that were made out of painted bronze in 2000. He called them Tip and Dump.

scott kilgour bags photo

Kilgour says that we were taught to believe that the more we consumed, the happier and freer we would be. But it hasn't turned out to be "the good life" and our false paradise is threatened by a "very real encroaching global environmental crisis."

He thinks that " we need to pull pack from our modern frenzy . There is a limit to how much we can consume." He ends with a quote from E.O. Wilson:

"We must try and remember that our natural resources are our ownly source of life."

Christmas is coming and this could be a great little stocking stuffer for your favourite treehugger. : the good life

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