Recycle Art at The North Gateway Transfer Station

Categories: Public Art
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Catherine Slye
by Paho Mann
Not all public art is as massively noticeable as Janet Echelman's Her Secret is Patience (the large "butterfly net" in downtown Phoenix.

Some collection are a bit hidden, like the Municipal Art Collection at the North Gateway Transfer Station and Materials Recovering Facility. It juts out of the desert horizon at exit 220 on Interstate 17.

We discovered this gem among the trash (literally) when we picked up the City of Phoenix's postcard-style book documenting and describing all the works on permanent display.

In 2009, three artists were commissioned the City of Phoenix Office of Cultural Affairs to "...explore the issues of recycling, sustainability and the environment."

Christopher Colville (Phoenix), Paho Mann (Arizona, now Texas) and Brian Moss (Los Angeles) were selected from more than 40 applicants by the Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission (a diverse group of 19 citizen volunteers). Once selected, Colville, Mann and Moss took three distinct avenues of exploration.

Colville documented the trash and recyclables in areas surrounding Phoenix that never made it to the facility. 

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Catherine Slye
by Christopher Colville
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Catherine Slye
by Christopher Colville

Mann, with the help of several assistants, obsessively sorted and categorized recycleable items directly from the facility by color and type. Each item was individually photographed. He then made large composite photographs that display the group images by color - white, black, blue, orange, green. Some were grouped by type: toys, newspapers, even straws (by the way, they're not recycleable at all).

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Catherine Slye
by Paho Mann
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Catherine Slye
by Paho Mann
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Catherine Slye
by Paho Mann
Moss built a pinhole camera from a trash can and used it to document the constant flow of dropping off and sorting of items that occurs inside the facility (the camera is part of the display). 

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Catherine Slye
by Brian Moss
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Catherine Slye
Garbage can pinhole camera on display with art by Brian Moss.
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Catherine Slye
by Brian Moss
All three artists works are on permanent display as an integral part of the facility's educational tour. Unannounced visits to see the art collection are not encouraged, but will be accommodated. 

Tours can be booked with Robert Amaya at (602) 534.7098. The postcard-style books showcasing the art with full descriptions (bilingual) are available from the Phoenix Office of Cultural Affairs, or by calling (602) 262.4637.

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