Yuji Agematsu, untitled (detail), 2014, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Yuji Agematsu

Yale Union (YU)

Yuji Agematsu, untitled (detail), 2014, mixed media, dimensions variable.

The use of trash in the making of art during the past century is so widespread as to defy summarization. Dada, Cubism, Arte Povera, and so-called abject art—not to mention the work of every other coffee-shop collagist and front-yard bricoleur—have all greatly depended on found refuse, with as many meanings generated as there have been artists repurposing the rubbish. Yuji Agematsu, a longtime New Yorker enjoying a happy renaissance (thanks in part to his 2012 exhibition at Real Fine Arts) after a twenty-year hiatus from solo exhibitions, uses garbage, too—in his case to elegantly formalist effect, offset by Cagean notes of improvisation and chance.

Agematsu, who landed in the US from Japan in 1980, has spent much of his adult life collecting discarded materials on walks through Manhattan, then archiving his finds in banker’s boxes stored in his studio and, on occasion,

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 2014 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.