Recology San Francisco: Artists in Residents at the City Dump

Recoogy San Francisco  is a unique Artist in Residence program in San Francisco, CA at the city’s waste management and transfer plant (also known as “the dump.)  In this program, artists are given an opportunity to work with discarded materials at the site, receive a stipend, and get access to a studio space at the Recology Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Center.

Since it began in 1990, more than 85 professional artists and 20 student artists have done residencies.  During their residencies, artists have scavenging privileges, have 24-hour access to the art studio, and participate in some public programs which includes presentations to children and visitors.    At the conclusion of their residency, there is a two-day public exhibition and reception for the artists

Artists donate work to Recology, which might include donating a piece for the Sculpture Garden, which is a three-acre site with over 35 sculptures on the site.

The Artist in Residence program has roots in the work of artist Jo Hanson, who came to prominence in the 1970s began a personal practice of sweeping in front of her Lower Haight neighborhood home. She made work with litter, and eventually organizing city-wide street sweeping campaigns and tours of illegal dumping sites in the City.  She was eventually invited to visit the San Francisco dump, which led to her presenting the idea of the residency program.

Early artists in residence included sculptors William Wareham and Jim Growden who created large-scale, steel sculptures that today are located in the Recology sculpture garden and gallery. In the 1990s, social practice art forms emerged with Remi Rubel, who collaborated with kids from the Youth in Action Corps to create  large-scale bottle cap-covered mosaic mural.

There has been a variety of projects at Recology which include interactive pieces, installations,  sculptures, paintings, and photographs.  Artist-in-residence Andrew Junge (2005) developed a variety of work at Recology which included his piece, Styrofoam Hummer H1 (low mileage, always garaged), which is a life-size Styrofoam version of a Hummer.

In 2009, during his residency, Bill Basquin collected food scraps and documented fruits and vegetables as they broke down over time.  He created a sensory immersion chamber, called Dirt House where visitors could sit in a three by three foot redwood box that contained compost, in order to have an intimate  encounter with the composting process.

Suzanne Husky in 2010-2011 while in residence, explored the “back to the land” and living off the grid movements.  At Recology, she constructed “Sleeper Cells”—small, house-like tructures that had wheels and could be moved.  The pieces were made from wood lath, The two pieces completed during her residency—one a porcupine-shaped structure, the other an abstract, organic form—were both equipped with wheels for easy mobility. They were made from lath and were furnished with the cast-offs of consumer culture.

If you are interested in applying for a residency, or want to know more about the current artist in residence for 2012 you can check out the Recology website or blog.

Recovered Resource – Recology Blog


The Recology Artist in Residence Program

Recovered Resource – Recology Blog


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