1)  Can trash be used to create art?  Does the selection, arrangement and titling of the composition elevate trash into meaningful art?

2)  Given that “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), what IS creativity anyway?

3)  Is it counter-productive to insist that college students write original work?  Are our notions of plagiarism outdated (

4)  If an artist constructs a “new” song entirely from fragments of other songs (remixed music), is the new song an original work of art or just theft?

The type of artwork that raises these questions is assemblage, which is produced by the incorporation of everyday objects into the composition and which can be 2- or 3-dimensional.

Literary artists use assemblage, too, which is a text “built primarily and explicitly from existing texts to solve a writing or communication problem in a new context (”  Here is an example by Christian Verdun, a depiction of President Lincoln’s assassination, which took 3 years to create from magazines found in dumpsters:


To really appreciate the care with which the texts were selected, zoom in on this closeup of Lincoln’s head:

Paradox closeup resized

Photo credits:

1)  Nr. 5. 70x40x18 cm (28x16x8″), Assemblage · 01.11.1968 by Werner Stürenburg (  (“Das ist Kunst” = “This is art”)

2) and  The latter’s flash version enables you to zoom in nicely.


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