Art and Design

The Art Of The Find


The following is a list of found art artists that I am using for a lecture with my sculpture students at Radford University. If interested, feel free to look through some of the images for how we have developed the art of appropriation in the development of what art is.  All work is sculpture.  Enjoy!

—Parker Stafford

Marcel Duchamp invented the concept of the found object in art and was followed by other artists such as Man Ray’s sculpture “the gift” which was an iron with small nails down its face, a very simple way to render two objects of utility into a non-utilitarian object that expressed a different “use” in the world of humans…..

The object below, titled “Fountain” was more about Duchamp’s insistence that the locus of art is not in the gallery, or museum, or in the minds of jurors who “judge” artwork, but rather in the INTENT of the artist.  Since Duchamp entered this piece in a show that was advertised as not refusing any work entered into it, he did not put his name on the piece, but used “R. Mutt” instead. The piece was refused.  Duchamp stepped forward and explained it was art because he SAID it was art.  This was a powerful statement when you consider that for a very long time artists have been subject to an elitist social and political structure that liked to say what was good and not good, what WAS art and what was NOT art.  Once Duchamp came along and said those famous words, the world of art changed significantly.  Picasso and Braque followed suit along with a long long list of artists who have put the art of the “find” into their way of working.

“Fountain” by Marcel Duchamp

The idea was that it wasn’t the object that determined whether something was art or not, but rather it was the INTENT of the person to make art.  This opened the door to ordinary objects being used like collage had been used prior to this, in creating artwork.

“Bicycle” by Marcel Duchamp
Picasso “Bull”

Found object can be very immediate and simple. It can also be more complex, more worked, or fabricated, as following images will show…..

Anthony Heywood “Broken Family”

Note the pairing of two very different materials to create a new context and message: is creating an elephant out of consumer objects saying something about the impact of our society and activities on wild nature?  Is our consumption the “elephant in the room”?  Found object can often pair two very different types of objects (the found object and the object they are creating) to create a new synthesis of meaning, of visual relationships.

Brian Marshall
Doris Salcedo


Eduard Martinet


Jean Shin “Sound Wave”

Consider if this wave was made from different materials.  How would other objects change the message?

What if you made a heart made out of glass objects.  What would that say to the viewer.  Now take it another step forward and what if those glass objects were wine bottles? Would that suggest romance?  How about bottles of bourbon and cheap booze?  How would the use of those objects change the message?  What if you took ordinary glass objects that were indistinct in their association and had them encrusted in dirt? What would THAT convey? What if you made a heart out of lead?  A heart out of wood?  A heart out of plastic?  A heart out of crushed auto parts?  What associations would we have with each material?  How would those materials change how the image was read?  What if you found a valentine tin in the shape of a heart. What would that say?  What would it say if you took a rifle and shot holes through it and painted it black?  Or red?  Or plaid?  What if you covered it in wallpaper and shot holes in it?  Would that suggest some kind of domesticity or connection to home?  And what would THAT be saying to your viewer?  You see, ALL of these choices and options will impart a different narrative or suggestion to push your work into a given content area, imbuing it with a very different message one from the other.

Jud Turner “Wired”


Black and white cords?  Is our world all connected?  Is the result black and white?  What do you think the artist is saying here?


Tom Deininger “Shell Cigs”


Shell made of cigarettes.  Everyday object transformed into a pointalist object.

Tom Denininger “Self”


Leo Sewell


Sue Webster & Tom Noble
Donald Edwards “Scissors”
Jim Raven
Tracy Emin “My Bed” (Purchased by Satchii for 150,00 Euros)


Just the artist’s bed.  Controversial but the artist leaned on Duchamp’s concept of found object; it was her INTENT to make art that made this piece art.


Carolien Adriannsche




Robson “Auroro”

All plastic trash….look her up online…amazing work…

Video of Aurora talking about her work HERE.

Jamie Pitrarch “Cyclops”
Tadashi Kawamata

Youtube video of found object artist Matt Drysdale, Australia HERE.


Joseph Cornell



John Chamberlain





A video on the sculptor John Chamberlain HERE

Louise Nevelson





Lee Bonticou










Lee Bonticou today







Artist Unknown


Jud Turner “Copa”


Max Knight “Walking Bike”


“Flip Flop Monkey” Artist Not Known



Amanda Rae “Consumption”

What would have happened if shoe strings were used, or artificial eyeballs?  What if rocks were used?  How would each object give a different message?  How does pairing different objects to create a new message work?

Jud “Obey T.V.”


“Big Bang”


Terry Kreiter


Artist Not Known


Mathew Northridge “Pushpin Laserbeam”




Found Object Project “Cobra” Art204, Spring 2011


  • Nice collection of found object sculpture. I would very much appreciate if you could look at my assemblages and found object sculpture work. I would love any feedback or criticism too. Regards Bill Thomson

    • Would you be interested in getting something together for the blog? It would likely involve some images of your work. If not, I would be happy to do something through e-mail in a more private way. Interesting work!

      • Yes, always interested in spreading the word about the art of recycling and assemblage sculpture. Let me know what images interest you or what other information you require regarding myself or my art making . Thanks Bill Thomson
        Burnaby, BC Canada.

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