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‘Garbage Wall’ Coming to Chicago

‘Garbage Wall’ Coming to Chicago

Chicago's Navy Pier
Chicago's Navy Pier. Image courtesy of David Bjorgen

( Sept., 2012) Chicago’s Navy Pier will soon be the temporary home to a giant wall of trash. The ‘Garbage Wall’ is part of the annual Expo Chicago Art Fair, starting September 20. The purpose of the exhibit is to raise awareness about illegal dumping in area rivers and lakes.

The trash for the Garbage Wall was collected from bodies of water all around the Midwest, including Chicago, Mississippi, Ohio and Illinois rivers. Construction of the wall begins on August 20 and will likely take a few days to complete.

Jane Crawford who’s the widow of Gordon Matta-Clark, the first man to create Garbage Wall in 1970, will oversee the process.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is the group bringing the “great wall of trash” to Navy Pier. Josh Mogerman of the NRDC told the Chicago Sun Times that the purpose of the exhibit is to make “people think about . . . pollution in our water. Garbage makes for an interesting way to not only make a statement but be visually impactful.”

Since Matta-Clark’s first exhibit in New York City, numerous Garbage Walls have been created over the years to help raise awareness about pollution and illegal dumping. You can check out one such installation in the video below.

The EPA lists Chicago’s lakefront as one of 43 Areas of Concern (AOC) in the Great Lakes region (see the map). An AOC, as defined by the EPA, “is a location that has experienced environmental degradation.” So, organizers of the Navy Pier Garbage Wall hope the installation helps spread the word about responsible waste removal.

Great Lakes Areas of Concern MapGreat Lakes region Areas of Concern (AOC). Image courtesy of the EPA

You may think a big stack of trash isn’t your idea of art, but these Garbage Walls are (surprisingly) visually appealing. Check out some examples of Garbage Walls created over the years…

garbage wallsImage sources: Exposition Chicago, Poul Webb, Infiniski, Lanzarte

Click here to find a Chicago dumpster rental company to help organize your own neighborhood cleanup.