The term Found Art was coined by the famous artist Marcel Duchamp. It referred to art whose subject composition was that of everyday objects who retained their form but were changed just a bit. These objects were among the things that were not usually considered to be classified as art or art media. Other names for Found Art are Readymade Art or Trash Art. The purpose behind the invention of found art is to challenge the notions of what constitute fine art in the first place. Just because an everyday object has a routinized or boring purpose doe not mean that it cannot be seen as art in one way or another. Every artwork made and categorized as Found Art must have an input though from the artist- such as a narration or explanation to clarify its meaning. The object becomes such art because of the artist’s direct designation of the object as art, therefore he or she must defend the idea behind it.

found art
Sculpture by Marcel Duchamp – Photography by Alfred Stieglitz

Found Art quickly spread after the time of Duchamp and made its way into popular society. Dadaism quickly sprung from it and several artists such as Man Ray and Francis Picabia used it in combination with traditional art as well. Its roots can be traced to several more artists in history such as famous surrealists like André Breton and historical geniuses like Pablo Picasso.

Earlier, we mentioned that Trash art or junk art is another name for found art. This is because many people in the modern world have attributed the two to be one and the same (though this was not true during the earlier times.) Trash art is actually a sub-genre and is usually made up of assemblage sculptor who make use of discarded materials like old computers and microwave ovens. This type of contemporary art is a more modern way of looking at the journey of Found Art into the present time.

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